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Robert F. Heinecken 

Interviewed by Stephen K. Lehmer 


Completed under the auspices 

of the 

Oral History Program 

University of California 

Los Angeles 

Copyright © 1998 
The Regents of the University of California 


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Are you Rea. Photograph, used with his permission, courtesy 
of Robert F. Heinecken. © 1968. 


TAPE NUMBER: VII, Side One (April 14, 1996) 287 

Heinecken serves on thesis committees outside of 
the photography program- -Teaches in UCLA's 
Department of Film and Television--Preference for 
nonlinear, experimental f ilm--Heinecken' s photo- 
graphic sequences and films--A photograph's 
transition from an actively manipulated work to a 
carefully handled, valuable piece of art--Nathan 
Lyons ' s contribution to the development of 
photography as collectible art- -Exhibitions 
organized by Peter Bunnell--The development of 
Heinecken 's career as a collected photographer. 

TAPE NUMBER: VII, Side Two (April 14, 1996) 311 

The need for museums to adjust their manner of 
exhibition to suit photographs--How Heinecken 
balances his project schedule to avoid downtime-- 
The continuities in Heinecken 's work--Right-wing 
censorship of the arts- -The importance of the 
dealer to an artist--The genesis of the Society 
for Photographic Education ( SPE ) --Interest groups 
within the SPE — New technology as an issue within 
the SPE--The inclusion of students in the SPE-- 
The SPE's membership and goals. 

TAPE NUMBER: VIII, Side One (April 27, 1996) 336 

Museums in the U.S. that were collecting and 
exhibiting photographs in the 1960s--UCLA' s 
Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts begins 
collecting photographs- -The Los Angeles Center 
for Photographic Studies — Photography galleries 
in Southern California in the sixties and early 
seventies--The photography program at California 
Institute of the Arts-- John Baldessari ' s 
relationship to photography--Heinecken' s 
preference for the term "photographist" rather 
than "photographer." 

TAPE NUMBER: VIII, Side Two (April 27, 1996) 363 

Contemporary photographers who have redefined 


photography- -Photography as a language--The 
unique culture of Los Angeles and the artists it 
has produced--New York art galleries' expansion 
into the Los Angeles art market--Los Angeles 
photography galleries--The Museum of Modern Art's 
Mirrors and Windows exhibition. 

TAPE NUMBER: IX, Side One (May 11, 1996) 388 

Minor White and his students--Seminal exhibitions 
of photography during the sixties--The 
development of photography in Europe- -The Museum 
of Modern Art's Photography Into Sculpture 
exhibition in 1970- -Reasons Heinecken moved 
beyond the boundaries of conventional 
photography--Heinecken' s Are You Rea portfolio 
and its sources of inspiration--Other portfolios 
by Heinecken--Heinecken' s search for a "visual 
gestalt" in the Are You Rea photographs. 

TAPE NUMBER: IX, Side Two (May 11, 1996) 413 

How Heinecken determines the sequences for his 
portfolios--The influence of Marcel Duchamp's 
"ready-raades" on Heinecken 's work--Heinecken's 
use of images from advertisements and consumer 
culture--His desire to maintain a consistent 
style but to avoid repeating himself--Documentary 
photography- -Heinecken uses a special Polaroid 
camera to make photograms of food for his pieces 
Iconographlc Art Lunches — Working with tech- 
nicians in Polaroid's labs to photograph 
television tapes--How Polaroid's forty-inch-by- 
eighty- inch camera came to be created. 

TAPE NUMBER: X, Side One (May 25, 1996) 439 

The exhibition Three Photographers Look at the 
Nude: E.J. Bellocq, Robert Heinecken, and Les 
Kriins--Heinecken's work during the upheaval of 
his life in 1975--His view that photography is 
not inherently an expressive medium--Bellocq' s 
photographs of New Orleans prostitutes- -The 
problem of elitism and the overly cerebral in 
approaching contemporary art- -Debate over James 
Hugunin's Spot magazine article comparing 
Heinecken 's work to Allan Sekula' s--Sexual 
imagery in Heinecken 's work. 

TAPE NUMBER: X, Side Two (May 25, 1996) 462 

The subjective nature of the categories "sexual," 
"sensual," "erotic," "pornographic," and 
"obscene" --Cultural mores and pornography-- 
Heinecken's continuing interest in sexually based 
material--Heinecken' s "guerrilla" piece using a 
Time magazine image of a Vietnamese soldier--The 
drive to create art--Heinecken' s appreciation of 
writing as an art form--The special ability and 
role of the artist--Heinecken' s increasing lack 
of involvement in the Los Angeles art community 
and in current theoretical debates- -Serves on the 
Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)'s artists 
advisory board. 

TAPE NUMBER: XI, Side One (May 26, 1996) 486 

More on MOCA's artists advisory board--MOCA' s 
beginnings- -The collection of Heinecken's work at 
the Center for Creative Photography at the 
University of Arizona--Collective book project 
with Robert Frank, John Wood, and David Heath- - 
Reasons the project was never fully realized--The 
importance of continuing to exhibit one ' s art 
when teaching at a university- -Serving as an 
example for students. 

TAPE NUMBER: XI, Side Two (May 26, 1996) 512 

Heinecken's satirical lectures for the SPE--The 
perceived need for photographs always to be 
captioned- -Heinecken's interest in twisting 
perceptions of reality--The theatricality of 
Heinecken's lectures--Preparing to move from Los 
Angeles to Chicago- -Heinecken ' s interest in card 
games- -The origins of the Heinecken family name. 

Index 532 


APRIL 14, 1996 

LEHMER: Today, Robert, I wanted to tie up some loose ends 
with the faculty position section of your oral history and 
a couple of questions on the graduate program. Then we'll 
try to move into the Society for Photographic Education 
[SPE] and see where we'll go from there. 

We were just visiting off tape about you being chair 
of forty-five thesis committees. That's a number that you 
said — 

HEINECKEN: Not chair but on. 

LEHMER: Oh. You weren't chair, but you were on forty- 
five thesis cormnittees. 

HEINECKEN: I would have been chair of those that were in 
photography. But the ones that were in painting or in 
sculpture, whatever, I wouldn't have been the chair. That 
would have been someone in that field. Then the ones 
outside of the Department [of Art]-- I would also have 
been just a member of the graduate degree committee in 
these other departments of the College [of Fine Arts] or 
in some cases for those outside of the college. 
LEHMER: You mentioned that you were on committees for 
dance. Obviously, within the department I'm sure you're 
on numerous committees for printmaking, sculpture, drawing 


and painting. 

HEINECKEN: Although I think most of those would have been 
in new forms or sculpture as opposed to painting and 
drawing, although I was on those committees sometimes. 
But it wouldn ' t have been something that I would have been 
that interested in as opposed to fields that were outside 
of conventional drawing and painting situations. 

While I'm thinking of it, I mentioned the ones in 
dance because I was interested in that. I also did some 
in film but not in theater or the things where I didn't 
feel I had any real interest or could be useful to me. 

Then I know I did at least two Ph.D.'s in the history 
department. In one case-- I think his name was Jonathan 
Spaulding was doing a kind of relook at Ansel Adams ' s 
relationship to the Sierra Club and the whole political 
aspect that this guy was trying to uncover within Adams ' s 
otherwise perfect- looking career or whatever. The other 
one in the history department wasn't specifically about 
photography, but the guy was doing kind of a social 
history of the thirties or something in California. 
Again, it had to do with Adams's relationship to other — 
LEHMER: WPA [Works Progress Administration]? 
HEINECKEN: Well, I think one of the things that he was 
looking at was the Manzanar [Relocation Center] thing and 
how Adams sort of got involved in making those photographs 


of the relocation camps, you know, that kind of a history. 
LEHMER: When we think of the Sierra Club and its concern 
for the environment and the role that Ansel Adams played 
in promoting the Sierra Club, what did his thesis explore? 
What kind of highlights can you think of? 
HEINECKEN: Well, that's a little bit difficult. To be 
absolutely correct, I'm not sure I could do it. But the 
point that this Spaulding guy was exploring was really not 
a biographical look at Adams but was looking at how do 
politics, philosophical ideas, and social and cultural 
ideas fit into Adams's activities as opposed to this being 
an artist thing. He always simply promoted himself as an 
artist, yet he was very active in all of these other 
things on political levels- -you know, corresponding and 
whatever with government people and stuff. So that's what 
this guy's thesis was about. And like a good thesis, it 
kind of debunked the popular view of what Adams was and 
what a wonderful man he was and all of that. It simply 
showed a real man with a lot of different interests and 
with as many dirty deals as most of us go through and 
stuff like that. [laughs] It was--just as a sideline--a 
very good thesis, and I did read the whole thing. Not 
always would you be able to read all that stuff and stay 
engaged in it, but that was a very good topic that he did. 
He's now teaching somewhere, I think. 


LEHMER: Okay. Did you ever get out of the humanities on 

your committees? 

HEINECKEN: I don't think so, no. 

LEHMER: Okay. There's one area that we've kind of missed 

that I thought was unique, and I just found it out 

accidentally. During your tenure as a faculty member in 

the art department you had a one-year teaching assignment 

in the film department [Department of Film and Television], 

if I understand that correctly. 

HEINECKEN: I'm not sure if it was a year or a semester or 

whatever, but yeah. 

LEHMER: I thought it was kind of interesting, because you 

always had an interest in film, and you always--to try to 

get this on tape--were interested in independent film. 

You were always looking at what was coming out of the film 

school. Your interest, I guess, developed your unofficial 

expertise or offered another opinion as to one's work or 

the program's work, the diversity of the students. 

HEINECKEN: Well, we had one person in particular I 

remember- -Heidi Katz--who did her work in film. I mean, 

she did her M.A. or her M.F.A. or whatever it was project 

in film. There were a couple of others like that too, I 


LEHMER: Was William Doherty in film recently? 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. He actually took his degree through the 


film school, because that's where he was enrolled, but he 
did photographs as the main — Well, not the main part, but 
at least half of it. 

LEHMER: Describe how you came about teaching for that 
however long stint in the film department. 

HEINECKEN: It seems to me like I've mentioned that, but I 
could — 

LEHMER: I don't think it was on tape. 

HEINECKEN: Oh. Well, we'd have to look and see what year 
it was, but the gist of it was a guy named Colin Young was 
the chairman of the film department. He was an English 
guy. I think he had come from the Royal College of Art or 
something, one of those places. He was a hotshot guy, and 
he was really terrific. But anyway, we were at a cocktail 
party, and I'm talking to him, and he said, "I saw you at 
the screening the other evening"-- It's even worse for the 
film faculty than anyone else. You have to look at all 
those f ilms--right?--to make decisions about graduate 
students. It's just endless, endless time, and half the 
time you fall asleep. You know, they're dumb films. With 
paintings you can just walk out of the room, but with film 
you've got to sit. Anyway, he said, "Well, what did you 
think about it?" I said, "Well, frankly, I've been going 
to these things for six years or something like that, 
and it keeps getting worse and worse. In this last film 


showing, I just couldn't see anything in it which was that 
interesting to me." He said — we're drinking — "Well, do 
you think you could do a better job of it?" I said, 
"Certainly." [laughs] So he said, "Okay. I'll talk to 
the art faculty and the film faculty, and we'll get you to 
come over to teach." Of course, at that point I'm 
thinking, "Wow. What am I going to do with that?" But, I 
mean, I had my foot in it by that time. [laughs] 

So I think there was definitely a full semester where 
I didn't teach in the art department at all. Then I think 
the second semester I did a course or two in film and a 
course or two in the art department. 

But film at that point--still, kind of--only 
interests me to the degree that it involves a kind of 
montage or collage or a disparity of time and space and 
all of the things that are the non-narrative kind of 
filmmaking, which of course is what UCLA was very good at 
in the sixties. By this time it's the seventies, when it 
had disintegrated and began to be more focused on 
narrative films and commercial films and technical-- You 
know, all of that. They lost their-- They were one of the 
best independent filmmaking schools in the country, maybe 
the best. And at that time USC [University of Southern 
California] was the bad school. Now UCLA is the bad 
school, I think, and USC — I don't know what they do. But 


anyway, they went with the culture just like everything 
else. use, for instance, began to get huge sums of money 
from people like [Steven] Spielberg and whoever. You 
can't take that kind of money from those kinds of people 
and make independent films with that money. That wouldn't 
go. I mean, if I'm giving money, I want it to reflect my 
taste. So that's how that happened. 

LEHMER: So is there anything that you can remember — ? 
HEINECKEN: There's another part of this story, which I 
might have told you. In 1966 I went to Europe on my 
sabbatical leave. One of the things that I was there to 
do was to take a whole bunch of student films from UCLA, 
some of which I had worked on with students, some I 
hadn't. But I had a package put together that I was 
taking to this film showing in Basel, Switzerland, to 
represent the UCLA film department in that festival, at 
which schools from all over the world show films. On the 
way to there I was in Madrid when I had everything stolen 
out of my car. I might have mentioned that. They just 
took everything out of the car. We went in to have a 
quick lunch with the kids, and we came out, and the car 
was empty, including all of these films. 
LEHMER: I had heard that story, which I thought was 
interesting, which was some handicapped veteran said he'd 
watch your car for you and you-- 


HEINECKEN: For twenty- five cents or something. 

LEHMER: You said, "No, no, no." 

HEINECKEN: "No, thank you." [laughs] So that's the 

idiot tourist kind of thing. But I did go to the 

festival, and I explained what had happened and made a 

presentation of what UCLA's film school was like and so 

on, but no films. [laughs] So they were a little bit 

upset that that happened- -I mean UCLA was. 

LEHMER: Understandably. When you t aught -- 

HEINECKEN: This guy, Colin Young, by the way, left very 

shortly after that, because in my conversations with him 

he could see that it wasn't even going to be interesting 

to him to be involved in the direction that the film 

department was going. He wasn't interested to try to 

change that direction. So I think he went back to England 

or to someplace in Europe to teach. 

LEHMER: Sometimes it takes a very perceptive person to be 

able to know what nut you can crack and-- 

HEINECKEN: Yeah, absolutely. Well, I think he — It 

doesn't matter. I think there are a lot of British people 

who have these kinds of expertise. They want to come to 

the United States to try it out. But he never would have 

been happy living in America. He was one of those kinds 

of people. 

LEHMER: Robert, you had some- -maybe you were under the 


influence at the time--specif ic ideas probably as to what 
was missing for you in the films. Can you think back on 
that era and what you were interested in trying to 
accomplish when you were teaching? Your time is valuable 
to you. You must have had some ideas as to what you 
wanted to accomplish. 

HEINECKEN: I think I had, prior to this incident, begun 
to make short experimental films myself--16-millimeter 
stuff--from collage material and sort of random, very 
corny Bruce Conner kinds of ideas or something like that. 
But I had made maybe three, five short three- or four- or 
five- minute films, so I'm sure that that had already 
begun before this incident came up about going over there 
to teach. So I had some idea that there would be a more-- 
Not necessarily more expressive but more visually chaotic 
than what I perceived to be the way that their teaching 
was beginning to go. I mean, there was more and more 
emphasis being put on the writing skills of the graduate 
students and whether they could actually construct a 
reasonable kind of narrative. 
LEHMER: More linear. 

HEINECKEN: Yeah, exactly. And not just more chaos was 
needed--although I think that's true--but to try to 
develop experimental experiences in film as opposed to 
following eventually a kind of Hollywood convention. 


LEHMER: Can you elaborate on that? I'm not sure I'm-- 
HEINECKEN: Well, it's actually interesting in this sense, 
too, that now you have films like Pulp Fiction or other 
kinds of films where nonlinear events are incorporated. 
That is to say, things don't necessarily happen in the 
sequence that we experience them in or something like 
that. Films now are even interestingly affected by MTV 
[Music Television] kinds of cutting and editing and 
superimposition. You know, they're using those things, 
but they're still basically tied to something that can be 
understood as a language idea being put into visual terms 
as opposed to a visual film like Conner's films. Is that 
clear? I mean, it's hard to express without giving an 

LEHMER: A couple of times you've mentioned Bruce Conner. 
I'm not asking you to define it thoroughly, but what are 
you thinking of when you mention Bruce Conner? I mean, 
what would you consider unique? Could you encapsulate an 
essence of Bruce Conner? What makes his work different? 
HEINECKEN: Well, he made a number of films, but I'm 
remembering one in particular--I can't remember the name 
of it, but it's famous--where he took a bunch of footage 
from early cartoons, Mickey Mouse, basically, or the early 
development of those characters, and simply put it into 
another whole scene which became absolutely sexual and 


dirty, using materials that were supposed to be most 

entertaining for children. 

LEHMER: Clean. 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. And he cut the visual material together 

in such a way it was a very fast-paced thing. You know, 

you were only seeing a fraction of the activity of Mickey 

Mouse doing a particular thing. But it would be cut 

together in such a way that it became this whole kind of 

mad sexual event. For me, at least, it was. 

LEHMER: A comedian came to mind when you said this, 

George Carlin, who is so good at taking words and 

analyzing their character-- 

HEINECKEN: Or Lenny Bruce, who was functioning at that 

time, also. 

LEHMER: There you go. All right. 

HEINECKEN: I saw once in San Francisco- -at the [Purple] 

Onion I think it was called--Lenny Bruce, Mort Sahl, and a 

guy called the "Mad Professor" or something like that. 

No, that wasn't it. Anyway, there were four comics in one 

night at this place who within the next five years or 

whatever were the hot-- I mean, Lenny Bruce was dead 

probably by that time. But to see all those guys in one 

evening was just an amazing thing, which would never 

happen now. You might see one of them someplace. 

There are other filmmakers that are certainly as 


interesting as Bruce Conner, but I can't quite think of 
them right now. Jonas Mekas and-- 
LEHMER: What was that again? 

HEINECKEN: Jonas Mekas of the Mekas brothers was another 
important-- Maybe I'll think of some names as we go along. 
LEHMER: Okay. I'm trying to think here of any kind of 
specifics that you might have-- 

HEINECKEN: Well, I think one thing that comes to my mind-- 
What I was trying to get at is some kind of--especially 
with the students--unconscious way of putting a film 
together which has to be constructed almost like no other 
thing. Maybe music in some sense. But it doesn't exist 
like a picture. It's an event in time. You're pretty 
much locked into watching it over a period of time. It's 
dark, and there's no environment for it, not like a 
gallery. It's a very interesting thing. If you're going 
to make three or five minutes, not worrying about two and 
a half hours of this and all that money that has to go 
into it-- I mean, these things worked on shoestring 
[budget] s. They were mostly just taking other material 
and reshuffling it in time so that it's not linear but 
still is seen linearly. 

LEHMER: Or at least exposing the fact that no matter what 
we experience there ' s a lot of depth and complexity to 
things . 


HEINECKEN: During this time period I probably have ten 
pictures that are made directly out of the idea of linear 
time, so that there would be maybe six or seven units in a 
piece that would — One comes to mind. It's called 
Different Strokes- -vihich was stolen, actually. There are 
four or six big panels. The whole picture is like twenty 
feet long or something like that. Well, not that big, 
but-- So the first panel would be, let's say, made from a 
super imposition of A and B. The next one, which would be 
adjacent to it, would be B and C, and C and D, and so on, 
so that if you look at the structure of the picture it's 
really narrative from left to right. There are all these 
elements in the adjacent panels that carry across those 
panels, because you're using the same-- One of those is an 
image that's already been seen, and they're a negative 
rather than positive. They're pornographic pictures. In 
film they'd have a word for this. This is a film idea, to 
take a sequence of pictures and overlap them, or cut them 
I guess would be the film way, in order to make a linear 
time out of it. There were other, I would say, eight or 
ten pictures made under some premise that ' s related to the 
linear development of images left to right as opposed to 
from zero to two minutes or something like that. But it's 
definitely a picture that leans on a film premise in that 


Another film I made, I think either with students or 
not, we took the camera and we built a mask for the lens 
that would show you only the top third of the image, the 
middle third, and then the bottom third. So by putting 
this mask on and then sort of arbitrarily exposing from 
various magazine materials that are just scraps, you have 
three films going at once; one in the top third of the 
thing, one in the middle third, and one at the bottom 
third. And they are linear. I mean, they are sequential 
images, but you're watching three of them at once--not 
superimposed but just separate time things going on in 
different rhythms and different speeds that would keep 
changing. It was like a five-minute thing. It was one of 
the things that got lost in Europe, actually. It was a 
great film. I did it with the students, actually, or I 
wouldn't have shown it there. 

LEHMER: So you never duplicated the films or anything 
like that? 

HEINECKEN: No. That was the attitude of the time, too, 
that these were the original things. It wasn't like you 
were going to go sell this stuff or whatever. It was like 
the original positive image that-- I probably would have 
made a negative eventually if it had survived. I think 
people were much more loose about things like that. I 
mean, so there's just one film. That's all you need, 


really, if you're going to show it, right? You're not 
going to distribute it. Nobody is going to buy it. 
Actually--! think of this every time I bring it up--there 
may have been a copy made that is sitting over there 
somewhere in that archive. They do keep copies, or they 
used to keep copies, of the students' work. 
LEHMER: It's interesting. Another thought comes to mind 
when you mention this. As somebody who's creating the 
work, the objectives of creating the work as the artist, 
the originator, things seem different to you than they 
would to someone who is viewing the artwork. I can 
remember working with you on projects where we would be 
putting things together, or maybe I was printing for you. 
But it may have been nothing more than for me to take 
something you had worked on to the gallery. You and I are 
hauling it down elevators and into the truck, and I'm 
hauling it off. Then, when I hand it to the gallery, they 
pick it up with white gloves. All of a sudden I had this 
sense of transition from an ongoing work that is always 
changing to when at some point you have made a decision 
that it's terminated. You've let go of it. But then 
someone else picks it up, and it has become valuable, 
because they can't touch it and they can't change it, 
because they don't have your skills. I mean, you are who 
you are. You are unique. I found that interesting, how I 


was the intermediary between the artist, who is concerned 
about making the work, the artist who doesn't think about 
making a duplicate print of a film, and the museum person 
who looks at this as a very valuable artifact. It's an 
interesting idea. 

HEINECKEN: Well, let me interrupt you. Two things come 
to mind here. One is that during this whole time period 
you go from-- And it's a kind of insipid way it happens. 
I don't know how to put this, but the white gloves 
reminded me of it- It's the whole thing about archival 
printing and processing and what UV [ultraviolet] light 
does to photographs. I started to say it's insane how it 
got so precious in a way. But that was one of the things 
in my career that changed completely, from where you would 
just throw pictures around on a table, even a valuable 
picture, until the museum started to get into it and 
curators began to develop in photography. Most of those 
people came from situations which were painting- or 
printmaking-oriented training where you do handle things 
carefully like that. But it still seems ironic to me that 
in a medium where it ' s the simplest thing to produce 
another one or a similar one that they're still having 
archival prints-- What's the word? I want to say original 
prints as opposed to later prints. Vintage prints is the 
term. So all of that is part of what happened to museum 


life or the collector's life or the gallery's life in 
relation to the development of this medium during this 
very short time period. Well, the white gloves is an 
interesting symbol for that. 

The other thing is that for whatever reasons, which 
you probably will begin to understand about me, I do have 
a very organized side. Whether I thought I would ever 
make another one or not, I would put that negative 
somewhere. I know maybe not how to get at it, but I 
thought I knew how to get at it at the point I was doing 
it. I did a lot of edition work. By edition I mean 
they're not all the same but they're all the same idea. 
Some of them are actually an edition where there are 
absolute duplicates or copies made. 
LEHMER: Robert, I feel that you have shown great 
discipline. I've observed you for years where you are a 
working artist producing work not thinking much, in one 
sense, maybe, about it after it's left your hands, yet in 
a sense you do. You keep moving forward to the next 
project-- There's an idea that I'm trying to create in my 
head here. Okay. Let me see if I can reformulate this 
now. In relationship to what we've just been talking 
about, you are also an artist who in a very short period 
of time went from a graduate student to a new instructor 
to someone who was recognized as a serious and important 


artist. You were a key figure to Nathan Lyons. You were 
in a group show at the Museum of Modern Art shortly out of 
graduate school, within two or three years or something 
like that, I think. My thoughts are that you have 
disciplined yourself on one hand to not take it too 
seriously and on the other hand to keep it in check, to 
not let it go to your head but to value that. The work 
that you create is of value. 

There are lots of questions that come into my head at 
this moment, but one would be, how do you balance the 
making of work, the manipulation of work, the refinement 
of the work, from a concept to a product that you finally 
let go of? You are having to think about the fact that 
your work is beginning to be collected, the work that you 
create is of value. How did you deal with the fact that 
whatever you produced would be collectable? 
HEINECKEN: Well, part of this obviously has to do with 
the overall rather rapidly accelerating interest in 
photography as "art, " right? Once you have that, you do 
have the exhibitions, you do have the collecting by 
museums--in that order, I guess--f inally collecting by 
people not connected to museums but private collectors, 
which necessitates a gallery. These are all part of a 
system by which these things become seen or available 
beyond the artist's studio. So it's something that's 


happening during this time period. 

You mentioned Nathan Lyons, who, I guess more than 
anyone else, was responsible not only for my inclusion in 
certain things that he was involved in but a lot of other 
people that he was-- He never really was championing an 
individual. It was always like how a certain individual 
fit into what he perceived to be something which was 
happening or was going to happen and was going to solidify 
into something, all of which happened. Nathan was much 
more forward-thinking and forward-looking than almost 
anybody else. He did five or seven books in maybe as many 
years, which actually began to set up-- One of his 
exhibitions he titled iToward] a Social Landscape, which 
became the term, right? But he invented it. I'm sure 
there are other things like that, but I'm just-- The first 
show for me that was very important was The Persistence of 
Vision, which he put together. There were five people, 
all of whom were doing what he called manipulated work. 
So suddenly I have this exhibition with a book that goes 
with it traveling all over the country. The same with 
[Toward a] Social Landscape. He really did define some 
kind of groupings so that one could begin to understand 
that the photograph is not just one thing but can be 
manipulated into one way, or it can have political meaning 
in another, and so on. He really laid that out. Other 


people knew these things or sensed them and maybe were 
teaching them or utilizing them, but no one put the 
exhibitions together and got them out on the road and got 
the publications made like he did. 

LEHMER: Now, we should mention that Nathan Lyons was at 
that time curator of the George Eastman House [Interna- 
tional Museum of Photography and Film] . This was in the 

HEINECKEN: Which he left shortly thereafter and 
constructed what is now called the Visual Studies 
Workshop, which continued to be one of the main forces for 
distribution of exhibitions and catalogs and things like 
that, and finally a graduate program. 

LEHMER: Can you remember who the five people were in The 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. [Jerry] Uelsmann, myself, Ray Metzker, 
John Wood, and a combination of Charlie [Charles] Gill the 
painter and Don [Donald] Blumberg, who was a photographer. 
They collaborated on some things. Blumberg made these 
large, I think we would call them, sort of documentary 
photographs, and then Charlie Gill would paint on them and 
alter them completely. But those were the five sets of 
pictures, one of them being two people. 

The same with — It wasn't so much [John] Szarkowski 
but Peter Bunnell. He was working at the Museum of Modern 


Art in New York, first I think as an intern and then as an 
assistant curator or some adjunct position to Szarkowski. 
Peter put together two shows. The first was Photography 
as Prlntmaking, which meant that he differentiated the 
kind of photograph that was related to the tradition of 
printmaking in terms of scale, in terms of social- 
political ideas, in terms of manipulation, in terms of 
things even like editioning and proper printmaking 
techniques--not techniques, but whatever. That was a very 
important show. 

Then he did another one called Photography for 
Collectors, which I think utilized photographs that were 
in collections by private individuals, if I'm remembering 

Then finally he did the most important one, which was 
called Photography into Sculpture, which was all three- 
dimensional stuff. It opened at the Museum of Modern Art 
and then traveled all over the country for two years. 
That was interesting, because I had a number of pieces in 
that. Also, a lot of students from UCLA, either who were 
students at the time or had recently been students, were 
involved in this exhibition right out of school. 

The point here really — I'm trying to respond to your 
premise about an accelerated career, which is correct. 
Well, most of it didn't happen because of anything that I 


did, necessarily. I mean, I'm making the work, but the 
climate for the expansion of understanding photography in 
an art context was an immense thing. People like Nathan 
Lyons and Szarkowski--not so much Szarkowski, because he 
had his own thing pinned down already-- But people like 
Bunnell. If you looked at my resume during that time 
period you'd see dozens of exhibitions. 

LEHMER: Taking that into effect, can you think back on 
what a few people experienced? That is, they go not only 
from making the work on a personal level to maybe-- And 
you have said this to me. You have to be obsessive. You 
know, there's a drive to make the work. It's not a matter 
that you make the work to become successful. You make the 
work because you have to make the work. 

HEINECKEN: But this thing about the career always comes 
up. I don't want to be so idealistic in a sense to say 
that as an individual I wasn't interested in a career, 
because I was. But you can't have a career without having 
the pictures. Although you can if you're smart enough, 
and there are those kinds of things out there. So I don't 
know. Is that clear? 

LEHMER: That's a start. What I'm beginning to see us 
trying to accomplish is there's a hierarchy or a sequence 
of events where you learn, you train, you practice the 
production of your own artwork. There's a response to 


that work. Now, this is where I think only a few people-- 
you being one of them- -meet with a strong enough response 
that your work is collectible to a larger number of 
people. You continue to make the work; that's probably 
what I'm talking about with the discipline. I know of 
cases where there have been people whom I felt met with 
too much success too soon and weren't able to continue and 
weren't able to follow up, were intimidated by that 
success. I'm thinking of a couple of people--I hesitate 
to use specific names--whom I felt made incredibly 
important work, explosive work, that may to this day be 
their best work, that was their first work, and they 
weren't able to sustain that success and recognition. So 
my question to you is, how did you maintain a separation 
between your personal work and your career? Knowing that 
they obviously are related, this is a tricky question, and 
I'm still struggling to formulate this idea. But you are 
one of the few people whose work becomes of value to 
others . 

HEINECKEN: Well, I don't know if this is the way to start 
it, but then and now there's nobody making anything — more 
then than now, I suppose--that would resemble what I did. 
I don't know. I think that's good in a sense. I don't 
think there's anybody else quite with my temperament. I 
mean, I see things around that might kind of use 


structural ideas that I developed or developed with other 
people, certainly, but that doesn't have the subject 
connection. Or I'll see subject matter that I would use, 
but it doesn't have the structure or it doesn't have the-- 
Oh, I don't know. Does that make sense at all? 


APRIL 14, 1996 

LEHMER: All right. So let me rephrase that. There was 
an interesting statement made by an artist about the San 
Francisco Museum of Modern Art, that they always have 
photography exhibited in the hallways of the museum 
outside of the main galleries. They would shove it into 
the hallways with the idea that it was exhibited but not 
given the prominence of a main gallery that you might give 
to a large group of paintings. The mistake was made in 
failing to recognize the fact that everybody had to go to 
the bathroom or go from one gallery to another down that 
hallway. No matter what gallery people went to see, they 
would almost always see the photography, because it was in 
the hallway. 

HEINECKEN: Well, that's a very interesting fact, and 
funny in a way, ironic. But I was just thinking in that 
museum, which of course was not built as a museum but was 
made into one, the scale of the galleries still just eats 
photographs up. It's a bunch of little postage stamps 
laying in a huge space, right? It's not until much more 
recently--like probably their new museum, which I haven't 
seen yet, actually- -they would design some galleries for 
photography. They wouldn't have twenty- foot ceilings. 


You would have intimate, broken-up spaces so that it's not 
as cavern-like as you need for their Clyfford Still 
paintings or whatever. So that's another development, 

When you were saying San Francisco art museum--it 
wasn't called that then, and I can't think of the guy's 
name who was curator there for years--that was one of the 
institutions that had a collection of photography rather-- 
LEHMER: Was that [F.] Van Deren Coke? 

HEINECKEN: No, before him. Van Deren Coke really made it 
into a very prestigious, full collection of photographs. 
He bought a lot of stuff. But he had a kind of importance 
because of his own career in writing and whatever that he 
was an equal to any other curator. I want to say-- I'll 
think of it later. But, I mean, this first curator [John 
Humphrey] was like a minor figure there. He'd been there 
a long time. He was in charge of photographs and prints, 
maybe, but he just didn't have any clout. That museum 
was, is still, one of the few where you could go and see 
photographs. The other was the Art Institute of Chicago, 
which very early on had a collection of photographs given 
by Julien Levy, I think was his name, who collected all 
the surrealist photographs. So they can always have those 
to look at there. And to some extent the Museum of Modern 
Art, also. But those three certainly were the only ones 


that had any kind of viable program. 

LEHMER: I think something I feel we still haven't-- Let 
me give it one more shot here. You make work, and then 
you find out that it is valuable. You begin to see 
someone receive your work with white gloves, so to speak. 
How did you keep that knowledge of fame in check? I 
sense--and tell me if I'm right or not--that you have done 
a good job, as much as can be expected, of not being 
influenced by the fame. In other words, as Edward Weston 
said, the one thing he was most afraid of was imitating 
himself. I'm thinking of my friend the painter up in 
Montana, the Native American, who says that it's hard for 
him to do new work because of the demands by the galleries 
to keep making what was previously successful. I feel 
that you have a healthy balance between recognizing and 
taking yourself seriously, and yet you seem to have the 
ability and the freedom, through discipline, of creating 
new work. What I'm getting at is there's a conflict 
between making work on a more ideal or pure level and 
satisfying a market. I sense a potential conflict between 
your personal art making and your career. Can you expand 
on that? How did you deal with it? Do you agree? 
HEINECKEN: Well, sure. I think everybody faces basically 
those kinds of dichotomies about how to construct a life 
and a body of material, whatever it might be, without 


getting into some kind of rut. I have a conscious way 
of — I don't know if this answers the particular question — 
leapfrogging, where I'll be working on something maybe for 
a month or two or something, but before that's wrapped 
up--you know, finished as an idea--I'll start something 
else which hopefully will be related to the previous work 
but investigates either a new structure or a new subject 
or a new something, so that it's leapfrogging. Before, 
what I have run into occasionally, which made me adopt 
this system, is that when you work for a period of time-- 
it could be long, it could be short- -you finish it, and 
you know it's finished, but you don't have anything to do 
next, so you've got to stop and think. I don't do that 
effectively. I'm lazy like everybody else in some sense. 
This leapfrogging idea is one way of not having a kind of 
stasis period after finishing something, so that there's 
always something that ' s underway in the gestation period 
before the other thing is actually finalized. I usually 
try to induce that idea in some form into student ' s works 
so that they don't see it as a project that you finish and 
then you've got to find another project and stuff like 
that. It's a way of making it more seamless, a way of 
spending your time. 

LEHMER: In a sense you've answered the question of how do 
you deal with the crash after a major exhibition has been 


hung. My question-- I don't think we've answered quite 
yet what I'm struggling with. Another angle on this would 
be — Let's say you hang a strong body of work. You feel 
damn good about it, and it's received well. What keeps 
you from continuing that? How do you feel because of the 
success? I mean, we're all social human beings. We like 
it when people appreciate what we attempt to do. 
HEINECKEN: Well, I think it's temperamental in me. I'm 
as interested in the visibility of my work as anyone else 
would be. I do see and understand the possible 
consequences. You see it in other individuals, even your 
friends, whoever. This leapfrogging thing is not a device 
to prevent that, but temperamentally, by this time, I've 
figured out-- What's very interesting to me is that 
someone who knew past work that I ' ve made could go into a 
new one-person exhibition someplace where they didn't even 
know what it would be and recognize that it was my work 
without having my name on it. Not because it's 
stylistically similar, because I don't do that. I'll 
actually make some very clean breaks in stopping something 
then starting doing something else. But the spirit of why 
one would do this is the same. 

It's like [Marcel] Duchamp. Duchamp only made maybe 
fifty, sixty things, but each one was different. The clue 
to knowing it's him is that no one would do that. No one 


else would have the mind to do that or the silliness to do 
it or the temperament to do it. So he invents what is 
called a "ready-made, " which is probably equal in 
importance in the history of art to C6zanne. He only made 
a few things, but each one was unique, yet you would say, 
"That's got to be a Duchamp." It's that crazy, or it's 
that ready-made based, or it's something like that. If I 
had a hero it would be him, as opposed to anybody else. 
Does that--? 
LEHMER: Yeah. 

HEINECKEN: I don't do it much anymore because it's too 
much work, but during this time period, if I finished a 
new body of material that hadn't been shown or seen, I'd 
make slides of it. Then I would send those sets of slides 
out to the five or six people that I thought-- Like Nathan 
or Szarkowski or whoever. That's just a toss-away. It's 
just like, "Here's what I'm doing." They appreciate that, 
because they don't know who's out in California or who's 
here. So that's definitely a career thing. It's keeping 
people informed of what you're doing, because they're not 
going to come looking for you. 
LEHMER: Exactly. 

HEINECKEN: They might see it when it comes to their city 
if it does, but if it doesn't-- 
LEHMER: Okay, this brings me to another point. I don't 


want this — 

HEINECKEN: This is not, by the way, to induce a sale. It 
is to keep the five or seven people--curators--who have 
shown past interest in the work informed of what I'm 
doing, so that if someone says, "I want to do a show about 
this or that," then someone will say, "Oh, I remember 
Heinecken had something like that." You know, that kind 
of stuff. 
LEHMER: Yeah. 

HEINECKEN: So it's not a pushy way. It's like writers, 
poets, whatever, they're always exchanging stuff once it's 
done. You know, they want their peers to know what 
they're doing. They're not sleeping somewhere. There's 
another point there. Well, I lost it. 

But one thing that I was going to say, too, is that 
I've had some bad reviews. I've had pictures defaced. 
I've had pictures stolen. I've had pictures spit on in 
one case. All kinds of things like that have happened 
because of the subject matter or what's perceived to be 
subject matter that's not appropriate for this or that 
reason. That doesn't happen all the time, but when that 
happens it can be discouraging. It tells you you're-- You 
don't want to be offensive, or I don't want to be 
offensive. I want to do what I want to do. But if I've 
taken something and put it in the wrong place, that's my 


fault or the curator's fault. If it's going to offend a 
certain group of people, then-- It's not the bad publicity 
of that, it's just that's not what art is supposed to do, 
as far as I'm concerned. You want to tweak people. You 
want to make them see something in a new light, but you 
don't-- You know, the censorship thing is a big issue. 
It's going to get worse and worse and worse. 

HEINECKEN: Well, I think that the right wing is an 
important political force. You know, someone like Jesse 
Helms is a fool, but he gets things done, and he causes a 
lot of trouble. You know, coming down on Jock Sturges and 
what's her name, Sally Mann, and numerous others, I mean, 
that stops your life for whatever period of time. When 
they come in and take stuff out of your studio without a 
warrant necessarily--and it's legal to do that--I say 
that's bad. And I don't see anybody countering that 
politically. I mean, other people are neutral on it or 
something. But even liberal thinking, it seems to me, has 
come to a point where, "Well, we have obscenity laws. We 
have certain restrictions that are politically based on 
what can be seen." Not what can be made, but what can be 
seen. The [Robert] Mapplethorpe thing was nuts, you know? 
It's like Germany was before in the thirties. You smell 
things like these beginning to happen. The rounding up of 


all those so-called abstract paintings and making that 
exhibition which was to show the people "bad art." 
LEHMER: "Degenerate." 
HEINECKEN: Yeah, "degenerate art." 

LEHMER: Well, I'm interested here in something you said 
that I have never really thought about. It's not only 
that you have an idea and that you articulate that idea, 
but now you also have alluded to the idea that you have to 
continue that responsibility to where and how you present 
the work. You want to tweak, but you don't want-- 
HEINECKEN: No, tweak is not the right word. As soon as I 
said it I didn't like it. 

LEHMER: You don't want to hurt someone; you want to 
engage someone- - 

LEHMER: --on a cerebral level. But if you offend some- 
one, they're going to shut you off. They're going to slam 
the door on your face in a sense-- 
HEINECKEN: Well, it's not so much what — 
LEHMER: --and they're not going to allow you into their 
own head. 

HEINECKEN: Well, that's no problem. That's up to the 
individual. But when it becomes a public nuisance and it 
begins to be in the paper and, in the case of Jock Sturges 
or Sally Mann, it actually stops your life for a period of 


time, that's wrong. Maybe it's interesting during this 
period of time where new art forms like performance and 
video are opening up avenues for sexuality and for 
expression of sexuality because it's a person there doing 
a theatrical thing of some kind as opposed to a painting 
which you can turn to the wall or you can take down. But 
when you've got Karen Finley doing something in front of x 
number of people, and it's offensive to someone who has 
not even seen it, that's a real-- I don't want to get off 
into this; this is another whole tape. But I don't see 
anything happening to prevent it. 

LEHMER: Yeah. I guess what I find interesting about this 
is not necessarily the movement of anti-pornography or the 
attempt to broaden the definition of that, but that you 
did hint at it being what I would call a basic tenet of 
communication. That is, when you have an idea in your 
head, you select the words that you think your listener 
will understand. Depending upon who you're talking to, 
you're going to use different language or different terms 
or different means to get your point across. In a certain 
sense, you have different work, and then there is the 
responsibility of the artist and/or curator to understand 
the audience as much as possible. 

HEINECKEN: Well, one never thinks — I don't think of the 
audience. I think all of this comes later. I mean. 


something is done, made, finished, whatever. Nobody is 

putting any restrictions on what you can do. 

LEHMER: Right. 

HEINECKEN: But that could be next. 

Anyway, my point is, then, in my case and in most 
artists' cases you pass that responsibility on to the 
dealer, to the curator. In other words, I would never 
sell a piece directly to an individual unless I knew that 
individual, because then you're the bandit, right? 
Whereas as soon as a gallery or a museum takes that work, 
it's their problem, it's not the artist's problem. The 
artist might get hurt by it, but it's their choice. They 
know what is legal, they know what is not. They know what 
their constituents are and what they want. I should 
expand on that at some point. The idea of the dealer is 
so important to me, not just for this reason but because I 
don't want to take time trying to figure out what's 
appropriate to do. I don't want to take time looking at 
twenty pictures and saying, "Well, this is better than 
that." It all goes to them. It's their task to figure 
that out. If you don't have a dealer, a good dealer, it 
can be hell. So I'm very lucky that way. I mean, to get 
an ongoing relationship with Pace[Wildenstein] gallery is 
much better than twenty- five one-man shows. That's 
finally a situation--if I can stay with them-- All those 


headaches are gone. You don't have to see anybody, you 
don't have to sell anything to anybody, you don't have to 
go to dinner with anybody. That's all their responsi- 
bility to do that. Of course, if they can't do it well, 
then eventually you lose it, because there's got to be 
money produced there for somebody. But that's not my 
concern. The most important fact of the dealer is that 
it's a veil for me between what I do and what the public 
sees. I don't want that responsibility, so they're the 
veil. I don't want to meet the collectors, not because I 
don't like people that buy my work; I don't want to take 
the time to have yet another dinner with somebody who 
wants to say that they've had someone to dinner. That's a 
waste of time. The gallery can take care of all that. 
They're the go-between. 

LEHMER: All right. That's a good start. What I'd like 
to do for the remainder of this session is to expand some 
ideas we had last week about SPE. 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. When you said that earlier, I wanted to 
say something more about LACPS [ Los Angeles Center for 
Photographic Studies] too, which was the local version of 

LEHMER: Okay. So we have previously talked about SPE on 
more of a social level, which is incredibly important. 
That's where people come together. 


My experience is--as I've talked to you off tape, and 
I've just mentioned one brief thing- -I really went from a 
somewhat active community in San Francisco to a very much 
nonactive environment. Then, when I began to feel truly 
out of touch — In other words, when I did not understand 
the meaning of what I was reading, then I had to try to 
figure out how to get back in touch. First I was thinking 
of graduate school, but I had no idea what the graduate 
schools' programs were like then. Unlike institutions 
that somehow sustain themselves, like Harvard [University], 
Yale [University] , and Princeton [University] , art programs 
will ebb and flow based on faculty and those kinds of things 
that make programs very vulnerable. So I turned to the 
Society for Photographic Education as a means of trying to 
figure out what was going on where at that time. It was 
like twenty years after I had actually first heard about 
SPE. Something that I found of value in that was that I 
could begin to get a handle on what programs were out 
there and what they were trying to accomplish. 

You were one of the initial people involved in SPE, 
and I think we had discussed earlier that it was pretty 
much started up by-- Was it Nathan Lyons? 
HEINECKEN: Well, yeah. 
LEHMER: Henry Holmes Smith. 


HEINECKEN: Yes. You know, it was a small group, but no 
one else in that small group would have initiated it, 
because they were all in universities or whatever, or not. 
But Nathan had the George Eastman House as a vehicle-- I 
mean, their job is to collect photographs, right? He was 
a curator or whatever he was, so he had the venue for it, 
and he had the institutional support for it. I certainly 
wouldn't have had that even if I'd had the idea, or Carl 
[Chiarenza] or someone like that. So he was very 
important as an individual but also because he had access 
to certain venues. 
LEHMER: Carl Chiarenza? 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. But I think your description of why you 
or what you found its value to be is in fact what it was 
developed to do. It was to be a kind of outreach--if 
that's the right word--into various communities via 
traveling exhibitions, via having meetings all over the 
country so that people in any locale could get to a 
meeting. Then the regional meetings were- -I think I 
actually had something to do with that idea- -to 
decentralize it, so that West Coast, East Coast, Texas, 
whatever, would have their own annual meetings so that 
people from that locale, even if they couldn't go to New 
York or some other major city, would have some sense that 
there was a body of people and a body of material that was 


accessible to them as teachers. 

LEHMER: Now, there were some original ideas defining the 
role of the photographic educator. But the function of 
the institution itself--SPE, Society for Photographic 
Education or educators? — some people wanted it to be 
nothing more than a group of educators so that they could 
discuss on a peer level — 
HEINECKEN: Right, exactly. 

LEHMER: We discussed off tape some of the other avenues 
that people wanted to pursue. Can you describe some of 
those ideas as to the various objectives or directions in 
which SPE was being tugged or nudged? 

HEINECKEN: Well, that's interesting. I think the quick 
answer was to use the constituency of the organization as 
a democratic voice to determine what would seem to be — 
Let's say, what would I need as an SPE member or a board 
member or whatever in my locale or institution that would 
help me be a better educator? That's basically what the 
thing is about. However that evolves is certainly based 
on the strength of conviction of any of the individuals 
involved in it, which is very clear to me now. The 
conviction of the feminist movement, the gay movement, the 
political movement, those convictions are stronger and 
held by more people than any other convictions are at this 
point. It's a young, active, a little bit angry group of 


people, and the progranuning reflects that, I think. And 
it should. People--not like me, necessarily- -who aren't 
interested in that simply don't have to go to it. Nobody 
is forcing you to go to this thing, right? But if you 
feel something is wrong with it and you have a different 
venue or a different agenda, then you have to speak for 
that. Maybe there are other people who feel that. I 
mean, it's an organism, really, and it's a good organism, 
I think, in that way. But it's hard to do. 

You know, I don't think there was ever a plan. Maybe 
Nathan had a plan or something, but it was never revealed. 
It was always just something like, "Well, what do you 
think we ought to do?" You discuss it and you do it. 

I don't think there was ever a meeting that I had 
anything to do with or went to that wasn't felt to be 
really, by a certain group of individuals-- Old people 
were doing this, people who no longer mattered. Henry 
Holmes Smith they just vilified at one point, which was 

The growth of the ideology about what would 
constitute the programming, which is all SPE is, really-- 
It was just a program once a year that is supposed to 
illuminate what is on people's minds and things. I've 
lost my train of thought there. So it's an organism 
that's reacting to social, political, and artistic 


changes . 

LEHMER: So there was this group of educators that were 
pulled together by Nathan, and with-- 

HEINECKEN: Who were the only people- -maybe there were 
twelve, maybe more- -he could identify in the country that 
seemed to have an already developing interest in 
photography as an academic or an artistic subject and a 
viable art force. It's not like we didn't have-- And I 
went into this the other day. There is a long history of 
individuals who were behaving as artists, but there was 
never, until 1960, something that could be seen as an 
educational force, because there wasn't anything like 
that. There were no photography courses taught as art, 
basically, before all this started. So that was the role. 
That was and continues to be the idea of it. It's just 
that the focus and the particularization of attitudes that 
people hold about the photographs they make is changing. 
It always has, and it will continue to do so. 

The most interesting thing is the electronic stuff 
entering all of this suddenly, because now it's not only 
the artistic and political choices that individuals make; 
now you've got this new media which is obviously capable 
of completely altering photography as we know it into 
something else. This is a big thing. It's like when 
video came versus film. 


LEHMER: It reminds me of the early seventies when we 
first started to see performance being done in the 


LEHMER: It was not an artifact per se. It wasn't 
something that you could go in, purchase, take home, and 
put on your wall. This is expanding the definition of 
what art is. 

HEINECKEN: But see, I don't think any university person, 
myself or anyone, would sit down and suddenly invent 
performance. "Hey, let's start this!" I mean, 
individuals started this. When you see a certain number 
of individuals doing something which you recognize as 
important and interesting and it is obviously in an art 
vein, it takes universities ten years to figure it out 
before they accept it. They do that all the time. 
Universities have a slow process, as do organizations like 
SPE. It takes a while for them to make their first woman 
chair. It takes time to make the women's caucus [of the 
College Art Association] . 

What I'm getting at is this electronic thing. I 
joked — I forget what I said--that you could call it the 
"Society for Pornographic Electronics." You wouldn't have 
to change the stationery or anything. You would just stay 
with those letters but change the name of it, right? Or 


"Society for Photographic Electronics" or something like 

that, but "pornographic" is better. [laughs] There was a 

lot of sexual stuff going on at this last meeting, which 

was very interesting. I didn't see all of it, but you 

could smell it. 

LEHMER: Some terms that we had discussed when we last met 

in regards to SPE and the history of it, "educator" versus 

"education" -- 

HEINECKEN: Oh, right. Well, the idea there was simply 

that they want to change the name to "educator" because in 

their eyes it was-- Again, they were slow to recognize it 

really wasn't just about the educators, because the 

students are the clients, so to speak, of all of this. 

You can do it, but it's wrong to, let's say, construct a 

diagnosis for someone when you don't know what their 

illness is or something like that. 

LEHMER: There were people who wanted to exclude the 

client, the student, so that they could talk more directly 

about — 

HEINECKEN: What to teach, how to teach, the profession of 

teaching — 

LEHMER: Then there were others who-- 

HEINECKEN: --in this medium which was like a new device 

in the art idea. 

LEHMER: There was a need for people to say, "Well, what 


the hell do we do? We're in this responsible position--" 
HEINECKEN: Well, you've hit it exactly. That's exactly 
how a lot of those people felt. I think they--not to name 
anyone — just felt incompetent about dealing with the 
students per se on a day-to-day basis because of their and 
my inadequacy to deal with everything like that. So the 
organization was supposed to be set up to answer some 
questions, to help people prepare how to proceed with 
teaching. Of course, the view was that the students were 
a nuisance in that. I didn't feel that way. 
LEHMER: Well, what did you feel the role of the student 
client was in SPE? You ' re hinting that you were in 
support of their involvement. 
HEINECKEN: And their input, yeah. 
LEHMER: Because of the fact that you couldn't-- 
HEINECKEN: But I don't think that that problem is ever 
solved. It's simply that the group of students who were 
unruly are now full professors in institutions. All of 
them or most of them are, because those jobs were 
available for those people. I don't think the nineties is 
producing students that are nearly as anxiety-ridden about 
what is going on around them as they were and probably 
never will again. It's a docile-- But it is the young 
faculty people who are making the noise, understandably, 
and wanting a change. 


I remember-- I think I was chairman at the time that 
this happened, or at least I was on the board. I 
immediately had to point out to them that the financial base 
of the organization was not in the membership but was in the 
local people- You go to Chicago and you've got five 
thousand students there, all of whom can pay ten dollars or 
whatever. The only way you can finance this is to allow 
them to be participants and not restrict them from being 
active participants, not just an audience for it. 
LEHMER: The makeup of SPE was predominantly artists and a 
curriculum of fine arts. There were other associations-- 
HEINECKEN: Not necessarily just that. I mean, there was 
always the technical thing going on. There was always 
the--which I objected to a lot--interference by the 
product people, like [Eastman] Kodak [Company] and 
whatever, because I just didn't think that that money was 
clean necessarily. But that's aside from the point. 

Well, I remember when the CAA [College Art 
Association] was the only thing I'd ever been to, and this 
is pretty closely modeled on that kind of-- These things 
are not without their political forces and their factions. 
All of these things are very important to it. So what I'm 
saying is that it wasn't solely the idea of how to make 
this into art or how to teach it as art, because there 
were always other considerations--losing, let's say, the 


spirit for documentation through photography or making 
everything kind of a formal art idea as opposed to someone 
like [Garry] Winogrand or whomever. I mean, some of those 
issues were always and still are present. 
LEHMER: But that's different than teaching commercial 
photography, which would be like a seminar at SPE. I 
don't see a seminar at SPE where you — 

HEINECKEN: No, but there were such things, but slowly or 
over whatever period of time people simply weren't going 
to those things. If we set up something that somebody 
wants to talk about, like commercial photography, and no 
one shows up- -two people or something-- You get the 
picture. I mean, it's changing. It shifts all the time. 
LEHMER: So then the base-- 

HEINECKEN: And those people who were, let's say, in 
commercial or applied photography came to understand that 
they wanted to train people to go into the industry and 
make a living at it. Well, that's fine. You've got this 
other group of people who are really thinking of the art 
idea, which brings up the problems that any artist has. 
How to make a living is always a problem. So it was like 
saying to them, "Look, you people are in a profession. 
You have RIT [Rochester Institute of Technology], you have 
all of these places which are teaching it. These guys are 
going to work right away; they're making a good living. 


Why are you interested in SPE? We're not going to be 
talking about these things. We're trying to talk about 
support systems for people who are preparing themselves to 
be some kind of artist or something other than a 
commercial photographer." I keep using the word "artist" 
because that's my take on it, but obviously a lot of 
people didn't think of certain kinds of photographs as art 
and still don't. There has to be something that makes it 
art, but I don't know what that is yet. 

LEHMER: Correct me on this. I'm going to use some words 
to describe the evolutionary history of SPE. It starts 
with educators, then broadens to students, to historians, 
curators, critics, administrators, dealers-- 
HEINECKEN: Yes, but not the dealers so much. 
LEHMER: Then it began to develop more specialized areas, 
such as the women's movement, the women's caucus -- 
HEINECKEN: But interestingly, that's developed within the 
structure of SPE. It's a vital part of the-- It is a by- 
law caucus as opposed to--as I mentioned the other day — 
the curators. While they go to SPE, they really have 
their own organization. In some ways it's like the first 
SPE meetings, where they limited the number of people that 
could attend, for which we had a motive in the beginning, 
which changed later. So they recognized, because of what 
happened to SPE in terms of the burgeoning growth of it 


out of hand, what the real issues for them were. They set 
up their own thing where they could discuss that. They 
can participate in SPE if they wish, but I think they have 
maybe forty or fifty people, which you can handle. This 
curator's group is called Oracle, a very highblown title. 

Then you mentioned administrators--! think they have 
about twenty people. They have an organization that meets 
annually. Photographic Administrators. 
LEHMER: Who would fall into that category? 
HEINECKEN: Paul Berger is one of them. I've got this 

LEHMER: Now, he's an educator, like a department chair? 
HEINECKEN: He's chairman of the art department [at the 
University of Washington], so it's not just photography. 
LEHMER: Would the director of the photography department 
at the Museum of Modern Art, for instance, also fall into 
the administrator's organization? 

HEINECKEN: No, these are all teachers or administrators 
and educators, as far as I know. 
LEHMER: In educational groups, okay. 

We're almost out of tape, but what we want to pick up 
with next time would be LACPS. I think I want to get on 
the end of the tape what we're going to continue with, 
because it will make it easier for me to start out with 


questions next time. 

LACPS is the Los Angeles Center for Photographic 
Studies and in a sense It is a spinoff of SPE. It is now 
the baton in the relay race which connects educators and 
artists with the community. It's a noncommercial gallery. 

LEHMER: I'm sorry, you were going to say something? 
HEINECKEN: Only to remind myself to talk about some of 
the early galleries in Los Angeles like Ohio Silver 
[Gallery] and Angel Eye [Gallery] and Camerawork [Gallery] 
and things like that, which were the local outlets for 
some of this. 

LEHMER: Well, we'll talk about their objectives and why 
they were created. There was an unfulfilled need that we 
should define in Los Angeles. We also should talk about 
the climate of Southern California, in which I feel you 
were a very instrumental key player. 

HEINECKEN: Well, I'll just mention it so we can think 
about it. There were no museum collections here like 
there would have been in Chicago or San Francisco. There 
still aren't. 


APRIL 27, 1996 

LEHMER: I want to extend from SPE [Society for 
Photographic Education] into LACPS [Los Angeles Center for 
Photographic Studies] and other galleries, museums, their 
role, and a brief history. During your time as a faculty 
member at UCLA, can you think of some of the important 
happenings with galleries and museum exhibitions? I can 
back up to The Family of Man. Maybe we should start with 
the Museum of Modern Art briefly and how that photography 
program started. Then we can go into Southern California 
or some of the smaller, independent galleries. 
HEINECKEN: Okay. Well, let's look at, say, 1960 or 
sometime early, ' 60-something. It seems to me that the 
Museum of Modern Art in New York City and the Art 
Institute of Chicago and I think to a lesser extent the 
San Francisco museum, then called- - 
LEHMER: The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. 
HEINECKEN: No, not then it wasn't. [San Francisco Museum 
of Art] 

LEHMER: Let me interrupt you. What was Chicago's museum 

HEINECKEN: Well, it's called the Art Institute of Chicago 
as opposed to the Schools of the Art Institute [of 


Chicago] . 
LEHMER: Right. 

HEINECKEN: But all I'm getting at is that those were 
probably the three places that I know about or that would 
have had enough material that you would know about it in 
the United States. Los Angeles had, as far as I could 
see--maybe there were pockets of things here and there-- 
nothing like those three places. I think, interestingly 
enough-- I don't know when [John] Szarkowski-- He started 
in 1960, I think the same year that I started teaching. 
So kind of by default in some ways his interest was--plus 
the holdings of the Museum of Modern Art were--basically 
documentary photographs. The Family of Man being the 
precursor to all of that, which was [Edward] Steichen's 
work. Steichen was still there in 1960, but he was 
emeritus or whatever. He was still a very strong force in 
their decisions, as was the board. So anyway, that 
collection had that slant to it. 

The Art Institute of Chicago was similar in a way. 
The force of collecting or exhibiting would have been 
documentary photography, but I think they were given the 
Julien Levy collection, which was basically surrealist and 
dada photographs. So the Art Institute had that material 
and would show it periodically along with the more 
familiar documentary photographs. 


The San Francisco museum, their collection was 
basically the-- Oh, what are we calling them here? 
LEHMER: The California school? 

HEINECKEN: Yeah, right. I mean Ansel Adams, Imogene 
Cunningham-- What are they calling themselves now? 
LEHMER: Well, there's F/64 — 
HEINECKEN: Group F/64, right. 

LEHMER: Wynn Bullock, Imogen Cunningham, Dorothea Lange-- 
She wasn't a member of F/64, I don't think, was she? 
HEINECKEN: No, but, I mean, there's that-- In Northern 
California, for instance, the photography program at what 
is now the San Francisco Art Institute was started by 
Ansel Adams and Minor White. So maybe through Minor White 
you had a little bit more mysticism or something, but 
basically it was the sharp photograph or what have you. 
It was a Northern Californian attitude based on the F/64 
premise. But those three museums were the only places 
that I recall where you could see much. Los Angeles, 
let's say in the early sixties, I don't think there was 
anyplace like the [Los Angeles] County Museum [of Art] . 
It was not the County Museum; it was a fraction of the 
museum of science and industry [Los Angeles County Museum 
of History, Science, and Art] . It was downtown, next to 
the use [University of Southern California] campus. It 


was a sleepy place. I don't think there was much 

photography there to begin with, but they certainly had no 

Idea that this was an art — 

LEHMER: It's really a young museum. 

HEINECKEN: Oh, yeah, yeah. So when they moved to the 

site that they're now in-- 

LEHMER: Mid-Wilshire. 

HEINECKEN: I don't know what year that was-- There was 

still no photography department. It was very staid--you 

know, a painting gallery, basically, with collectors 

beginning to develop in Los Angeles. Four or five, six 

families built that museum. But they built it--and this 

is not cynical--because they wanted some kind of showcase 

for modern art or for contemporary art, because that's 

what they were collecting. 

LEHMER: Oh, really? 

HEINECKEN: We don't need to name the people that founded 

the County Museiom and subsequently donated their work. 

It's a very regular way that these things happen. But 

there were no photographs and no curator or anything like 

that. Now, I don't know exactly when the photography 

department started, but it was definitely something that 

came out of prints and drawings, which would have been the 

logical division for handling that scale and for that kind 

of storage. Certainly there was activity. I don't know 


whether-- Kathy [Kathleen] Gauss certainly wasn't the 
first person there; there was someone before that I can't 
think of. But it was a sleepy situation. So there wasn't 
much going on there at all. 

LEHMER: Time-wise, where does the Grunwald [Center for 
the Graphic Arts] fall into this? 

HEINECKEN: I was going to get to that, actually. 
LEHMER: I just thought of that. 

HEINECKEN: In the early sixties — I didn't curate it — I 
arranged to get a traveling exhibition from the Museum of 
Modern Art, which was Robert Frank, [Jacques -Henri] 
Lartigue, [Aaron] Siskind, someone else. They had put 
this traveling show together to show you four different 
kinds of photographs, including the Lartigue, which was 
charming and historic and whatever. I got the UCLA 
[Wight] Art Gallery to take that exhibition, and we did a 
small promotion of it beyond the normal kinds of things. 
That was like the first exhibition that they had done for 
years and years that had anything to do with photography, 
and it's because I badgered them to do it. I was working 
for the gallery at the time. 

In 1920-something-- Barbara Morgan told me this 
story. When she was a student at UCLA she helped organize 
and hang the first photography show that UCLA had ever 
done, which was an Edward Weston show traveled by somebody 


or whatever. UCLA — I learned this subsequently--later 
acquired some Weston photographs, which are probably still 
sitting over there someplace because of that exhibition. 
So this time period Is all a little bit blurry. 

I mentioned earlier that the role of the UCLA 
[University] Extension courses in photography was 
Interesting or pivotal for me, because that's where I 
started teaching. That's where I developed Ideas about 
teaching. That, for instance, was the only game in town 
where any adult student could pay their twenty- five 
dollars and take these courses. And we ran them all 
within the first — Not in the new building but in the 
building previous to the one that we are now in. But 
anyway, that's really the start of that. 

Then subsequently--! 'd have to look at these dates — I 
did two other large exhibitions at UCLA, which were in the 
Wight Gallery, with catalogs and whatever. At that point, 
through [E.] Maurice Bloch, who was the director of the 
Grunwald, I convinced him and their board that they should 
add photography to this, because, again, it was consistent 
with the prints, drawings, works on paper kind of idea 
that they were limited to. Fred Grunwald was a collector 
of prints. His donation of those materials started the 
whole thing going, and [E.] Maurice Bloch ran it for years 
until he retired. He was easily convinced that 


photography was happening. He knew the history of 
photography and how it related to printmaking because he 
was an art historian. At that point they began to 
collect, largely through donations. There wasn't a huge 
budget. It never was a major part of the budget and still 

I was down at the [UCLA at the] Armand Hammer [Museum 
of Art and Cultural Center] the other day donating some 
stuff to them. The Grunwald Center is now located there. 
Now photography is certainly an important aspect of what 
they collect. There are programs in photography there. 
She showed me their schedule of stuff. It was clear that 
photography is an important part of what they are doing 
there, but their collection is not focused at all. It's 
like whatever they could get someone to give to them. I 
had the graduate students, as you know, put pictures in 
there each time when they graduated. They were not forced 
or obligated, but were encouraged to put three pictures in 
there: one picture that they had made either in the first 
year of their graduate studies or prior to that, and then 
another one somehow in the middle, and then finally a 
picture or two from their M.F.A. [master of fine arts] 
show. So that was the idea of preserving in some sense 
what students were in the M.F.A. program. It adds to the 
collection, presuming that some of these people are going 


to be more or less well known later and you have some of 
their early pictures. 

LEHMER: That's good. You mentioned that you had curated 
two exhibitions other than the ones that were being 
circulated. What were those? Can you remember? 
HEINECKEN: The first one I organized around the idea that 
the Grunwald was going to be an important collection of 
photographs at some point. We had the university's full 
support through the Grunwald. And really, I guess I 
couched it in terms of my personal friendships with 
people. I said, "Look. I'm trying to do this thing 
here." I got, I guess, twenty or twenty- five people to 
donate two or three pictures or whatever they could to the 
Grunwald, which was the basis of the exhibition. This 
opened the idea that the Grunwald was really going to be a 
place where you would see contemporary photographs, and 
the pitch was, of course, that it would be an important 
place to have your photographs. It may not be in your 
lifetime or whatever, but-- Everybody that I asked, with a 
few exceptions, was very generous. So that was another 
kind of basis of contemporary photographs that they owned, 
which were, of course, donated. I don't know what year 
that was, but we could find out. 

LEHMER: Was that like mid-sixties, do you think? 
HEINECKEN: No, it was later than that. 


LEHMER: Late sixties? 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. But in 1976 — I remember that date — we 
did another show, which was really Gerald Nordland's. He 
was then the director of the Wight Gallery and also very 
interested in photography, always had been, and knew more 
about it than most directors of museums would have at that 
point. So he got about four or five grants from different 
organizations to buy photographs. At that point we sat 
down and assessed what we had, what we thought we could 
afford, what was going to be the direction of the holdings 
in that place as opposed to maybe the County Museum, which 
was starting to do something also. It was supposed to 
represent the full spectrum of what photographs were at 
that point in time. And there was a lot of experimental 
work that otherwise you wouldn't have seen anyplace like 
that. If you look through there, that black catalog for 
the M.F.A. show has a listing of all the photographs they 
owned up until that point. Okay, so that's the 
institutional thing. 

Then UCLA Extension, which I started to talk about, 
was, let's say after the first three or four years, 
clearly the most-sought-after courses in the Extension 
arts programs. The adults were beginning to understand 
that something was going on here. The problem was that we 
never had enough space to develop it beyond that basement 


at UCLA. We could never really get any darkrooms other 
than what we could provide them there. But for whatever 
period of time that was the most important teaching 

Then at some point-- I was trying to think of her 
name this morning, and I can't-- I'll think of it later. 
But this woman was an undergraduate student in the art 
department who actually started the idea of LACPS. She 
went on to become a pretty high-powered attorney. I 
forget what field she's in; maybe a defense attorney or 
something. I talk to her occasionally still. She's a 
successful person but very fondly remembers how she--and 
there were a couple of other students--really sat down and 
figured this thing out. They had their first meeting in 
this woman's apartment. There were about five people with 
her there, like Darryl [Curran] , myself, and a couple of 
other people. I just said, "Look, this is a terrific 
idea. You've got to do it, but I can't take on any more 
than what I've got." Clearly this was something that in a 
city of this size, seeing Extension turning people away 
constantly and not allowing people actually to repeat 
courses, which was a big demand, obviously this was the 
right idea, and it simply took off. 

They never really had a place for a long time. I 
can't remember the history of this exactly, but they never 


had any darkrooms or facilities of their own. But there 
were places in the city, like the public schools all had 
darkrooms, and somehow they got hooked up with some of 
those. They could rent those darkrooms on weekends when 
the students weren't using them. So little by little they 
became a functioning organization. 

She at some point- -probably when she went to law 
school --dropped out of it. But people like Barbara 
[Pearlman] were very active in it. Darryl Curran was very 
active. I was as active as I preferred to be. So LACPS 
was a very important thing. 

Sometimes, before they had any viable space, they 
would just find someplace where they could hang an 
exhibition and put it together — you know, put it up for a 
week or so and do mailers and whatever. Of course, now 
it's grown into what seems to be a very effective 
organization with grants from the government and the city 
and the county and whatever. 

Then, at the same time, because of this mushrooming 
interest in the medium, I think that one of the first 
galleries in L.A. was Angel Eye. I remember that name. 
They actually had a space. The guy lent what I think was 
his studio downtown and maybe someplace where he lived, 
and he just dedicated like half of that to this Angel Eye 
Gallery, which was purportedly going to sell photographs. 


They did exhibitions. Maybe he sold some, maybe not. But 
it was a place, along with LACPS, which never had an 
exhibition space per se, where you could see whoever this 
guy chose to show on a monthly basis. I think that must 
have lasted a couple of years, and then it folded up. 
LEHMER: I have a question about Angel Eye. It was a 
private gallery? 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. It was supposed to be a dealer. I 
mean, that was the idea of it. 
LEHMER: Okay. 

HEINECKEN: I think those things probably were happening 
all over the country. It's like somebody gets a hot idea — 
Not that they'd expect to make any money, but they'd 
expect that they can have this space and they think they 
are doing a civic duty, and maybe they can make a living 
out of it. I don't think anyone ever really accomplished 
that without some sacrifices being made by that individual 
or people giving them money and stuff like that. But 
Angel Eye was an interesting place, because it was all 
local people, and you could go to a real art opening. 

And then I think the other place that might have — I 
think Angel Eye was the first one, but the other place was 
called Ohio Silver Gallery and was run by a husband and 
wife. Randy [Randolph] Laub and Claudia Laub. I don't 
know where they appeared from, but I think probably out of 


Extension courses. He was, I think even then, a very good 
framemaker, just a real craftsman at frames and matting 
and stuff like that. So they had that kind of a service 
going on at this same time. I liked the title; it was 
great. Ohio was the name of the street it was on down in 
West L.A., between Santa Monica [Boulevard] and Wilshire 
[Boulevard] or something like that. It was their house 
and they had simply gutted a couple of rooms, and then the 
framing service was in the garage. They must have lasted 
at least two or three years, also. I'm not exactly sure 
of the time period. 

LEHMER: Again, this was a private--? 
HEINECKEN: Yeah, but this was a much more organized 
situation than Angel Eye was with this one guy. I mean, 
you'd go to Angel Eye and it was supposed to be open, but 
it wasn't. But they ran Ohio Silver as professional 
people. I forget what she was trained as, but I think she 
had a real job of some kind. The Ohio Silver was the "Hi- 
ho. Silver" Lone Ranger thing, and it was the photographic 
silver, and it was nice. Everybody liked this title and 
they liked to go there, because they were friendly and it 
was a social situation. They did a lot of good work, one 
of which was the Bill [William] Doherty exhibition when he 
died. They were very eager to take that exhibition. They 
put some money into the catalog, helped to curate and 


overmat and everything like that. It was a really nice 
thing. They were always very open people like that. Then 
I think their marriage dissolved, maybe partly because of 
the gallery. He continued to make individual frames for 
people and then moved to Santa Fe [New Mexico] . Now I 
think he's there making frames and furniture. So that was 

LEHMER: And the date for Angel Eye? 

HEINECKEN: I guess I'm just going to have to say mid- 
sixties. We can look this up. 
LEHMER: And Ohio Silver? 
LEHMER: Mid-sixties? 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. And then the other place was Camerawork 
Gallery, which I think was earlier than the other two I 
mentioned. The first site was Costa Mesa [California], I 
think. John [P.] Lamkin was this guy's name. He was a 
student of John Upton, who taught during this whole time 
period at — What's it called? 
LEHMER: Orange Coast College. 

HEINECKEN: Orange Coast College, then Community College. 
So Lamkin got the bug and opened this place called 
Camerawork that was a storefront situation, which at least 
had the look of a gallery. I mean, it wasn't at 
somebody ' s house . 


LEHMER: When do you guess that was? 'Seventy or — ? 
HEINECKEN: Well, let's say '70 for now. I don't know. 
[John] Upton would know this, for instance. Darryl would 
remember much more about this if we want to give him a 
call and find out. Then this same gallery moved to Corona 
Del Mar [California] , which is more of a resort city than 
Costa Mesa. I don't know how long that lasted. I'm not 
sure what he did for a living, but at some point this was 
getting too much for him. He couldn't afford to do it, 
but he wanted to do it more. He moved it to Oakland 
[California], I think, or Richmond [California], or 
somewhere in the East Bay. 
LEHMER: That's a big jump. 

HEINECKEN: The whole thing. I mean, he just packed up 
and went up there. I think maybe John Upton ran the one 
down here for a while before he couldn't do that either. 
But the name Camerawork went with Lamkin to the Bay. And 
then, of course, he either sold it or gave it away, and 
now it becomes Camerawork, which is a big deal in San 
Francisco with directors and a brand-new building this 
month and everything. 

I'm maybe forgetting some other places, but there was 
moderate interest in the medium in the city through these 
three or four or five kinds of galleries. And UCLA was an 
important part of it. 


Then the other thing I wanted to mention was at one 
point Darryl, Jerry McMillan, and myself --but mostly 
Darryl and Jerry had the time to worry about it- -became 
discouraged with the Extension program, because it's 
beginning to be a place that has difficulties and demands 
and wants to open up the courses beyond what we had 
considered appropriate. Todd Walker, I think, was another 
person involved with this. We were very close to opening 
a private school that the three or four of us would try to 
finance, find a building, maybe even work through 
Extension but have it something that was separate from the 
administration of UCLA. We got this so far as to really 
look into the finances of it and figure out exactly how 
much it would cost. Could it be self-supporting? Could 
whoever was teaching there, of course, get paid to teach? 
The presumption was that they would take all of those 
excess students who couldn't get into Extension courses. 
We knew who they were. It was just a matter of a list. 
The teachers would be the same people that were teaching 
Extension. The price would be more, but you would have 
darkrooms available somehow. I was very disgruntled with 
Extension at that point so I was like, "Great for me." I 
didn't want to screw with Extension anymore. 
LEHMER: Robert, this is kind of frustrating, but again. 


what kind of a time frame are we looking at? Is this mid- 
seventies or--? 

HEINECKEN: Yeah, it's really difficult. I don't know. I 
don't really have any way to look it up easily. 
LEHMER: I'm just trying to get an idea of the evolution. 
HEINECKEN: Yeah. Well, make a note. We'll talk to 
Darryl, because I think Darryl was involved in all of 
these one way or the other. Also, John Upton could tell 
us if we need a date for these things. 

LEHMER: Yeah, that might be kind of interesting. I don't 
know if this is something we would put into the text in 
parentheses or something. 

HEINECKEN: Well, if it's important to get a date, we'll 
just have to find those dates--roughly. 

Similar things were happening in San Francisco with 
Jack [W. ] Welpott at San Francisco State [University] . 
There were other small galleries, but the names escape me. 
There was a similar situation going on there. The 
advantage that they had there was that they had this 
museum collection, and they had a curator of photography 
at the museum. 

Things were happening there on a minor scale, 
certainly, which we didn't have here. I don't know 
exactly at what point the County Museum did add this 
division to the prints and drawing thing, and I don't know 


who the first person was to do it. It couldn't have been 
Kathy Gauss; it must have been someone before her. But 
she was the second one, certainly. With [Robert] 
Sobieszek coming there--what?--f ive years ago or something 
like that, the commitment of the museum to photography as 
a division of their programming is clear. I mean, it's as 
established as it is in San Francisco or wherever. And we 
have probably four or five other smaller galleries, 
workshops, or darkrooms that-- Like there's the L.A. 
Center for Photographic Studies. Suffice to say that 
there's still a private interest in the workshop idea, the 
darkroom idea, for people who I think view themselves as 
potentially interesting photographers. 

Of course, now we have five or seven photography 
galleries, all of which seem to be doing well. G. Ray 
Hawkins [Gallery] was the first one, I think. David Fahey 
worked for him and split off. Stephen White [Gallery] 
made a bundle. The city was successful with this later in 
the time period and I think probably now has, along with 
San Francisco, Chicago, New York, the same number of 
galleries--not necessarily New York, but in Chicago or San 
Francisco--private galleries, dealers. 
LEHMER: Do you have some idea as to--? 

HEINECKEN: One more thing before I forget. During the 
same period of time when UCLA Extension was the only place 


that the public had access to-- I think some of the other 
university branches and colleges began to open up 
departments including extension courses. So the public or 
the student population of the city probably began to be 
exposed to the possibility of courses in photography to an 
increasing degree. And again, at this point places like 
[California State University] Fullerton or [University of 
California] Irvine all have-- [University of California] 
Riverside has that museum [California Museum of 
Photography]. It's sort of like the educational system 
woke up somehow, or didn't wake up, but people who went to 
UCLA, people who went to Extension-- People like Darryl, 
who will go to teach at places like Fullerton, they open 
it up, right? 

LEHMER: And CalArts [California Institute of the Arts] . 
HEINECKEN: CalArts was very important, yes. I don't know 
what year that is. 

LEHMER: Well, they started, or they got their facilities, 
in 1971 or something like that. I don't know if they 
taught photography right off the bat. 

HEINECKEN: I think they did, because I remember going out 
there. It wasn't in this building, I don't think. Maybe 
it was or some version of this building, but it was on 
that site. The guy that they hired to do photography — 
what's his name? --Ben Li f son, was a New Yorker. I don't 


know how they found him or he found them or whatever, but 
he became the first head of the photography department. 
His interests were in very straight, conventional 
photographs. But he knew why he made that choice, and he 
knew who the people were. I think at some point whoever 
the directors were of the school could see that that 
particular person and that particular kind of program was 
not appropriate for CalArts, which was developing in ways 
that were purposefully counter to universities and staid 
conventional art. I don't know exactly what happened, 
maybe he quit, maybe he left. 

Then John Brumfield took it, I think. He was at 
least more open to other kinds of things. But then he 
left, so I don't know the history of that too much. 

It was clear, let's say in the seventies and beyond 
that, that it was definitely an alternative educational 
institution with ideas that I think most of us perceived 
to be much better ideas than the ones that the 
universities were involved in. It was not going to be 
another painting school. It was going to have theater, it 
was going to have dance. Everybody was very excited about 
it. Well, they still are, I think. It's a good school. 

But I guess it wasn't until Catherine Lord went there 
to be the dean or whatever that photography really became 
an important part of that program. The feminist idea was 


brought there also by her. That was the place where you 
would be exposed to that history, that phenomenon, and 
that was clearly an alternative to UCLA, which is 
continually all male as far as tenured people, etc. Then 
there's the political emphasis on photography. There was 
again a clear and healthy shift from what the universities 
would be doing. 

LEHMER: It would seem to me that someone like John 
Baldessari, who was pretty much responsible for the strong 
development of the art program, would have a lot of 
influence on the directions that the college might choose 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. I don't know exactly how he fit into 
that. I had known him casually all this time, and we 
would talk about it, but I don't think he-- You'd have to 
figure out what time he decided that he was going to burn 
his paintings. Did he burn them--I'm sure he did--and 
then went into this new thing. I don't think he ever 
taught in photography. People who were out there in 
photography maybe used him somehow or had some sense of 
what his ideas were. But to this day he doesn't 
necessarily participate if he doesn't want to in 
photography situations. He knows that that's not what 
he's about. I think it was a very clear and effective and 
smart, professional attitude that he had. I still think 


it is. 

LEHMER: Why is that? 

HEINECKEN: Well, I think it's-- Well, I don't know. The 
joke would be if you were a photographer and burned all 
your photographs and went into painting. Nobody does 
that, right? It wouldn't work; you wouldn't know how to 
paint. But photography is fairly simple in some sense, 
and he's brilliant. I mean, I think he's one of the 
really important people using photographs. But I don't 
think--and I can't be sure about this--he would have 
anything to do with people like Ben Li f son, or John 
Brumfield for that matter. He might be talking to 
students about photography, and as I had talked to you 
about teaching through exposition, he certainly did that. 
I'm trying to get to the right-- See, this is supposition 
on my part. 

At some point I guess Li f son was still there, or 
Brumfield, but I remember going out there a couple of 
times at the request of students who were complaining that 
they didn't have anybody there who would really talk to 
them about what they were doing. I know I sat on an 
M.F.A. committee, because they couldn't get enough people 
together to form that committee, things like that. But I 
never ran into Baldessari that much. I knew him more as 
just another artist. And of course, his work is not — 


Maybe what I'm getting at is that I'm looking at the 
way that I handled my career within the system of 
photography trying to somehow elevate that or increase the 
importance of that in an art context. A person like 
Baldessari doesn't do that; he simply takes a whole new 
shot at it. Not from the standpoint of photography, 
because that ' s not what he ' s about . He uses it sometimes 
very forcefully, but it's really "concept art" or 
something like that or just individual Baldessari 
thinking. He disassociates himself from the medium when 
it's necessary to do that. 

I don't think he ever taught courses in 
photography. It wouldn't be something he would even think 
about doing at CalArts or anyplace else. Like coming to 
UCLA, you know. I don't think he would--I'm just 
guessing- -take a job that had photography tacked on the 
end of it. It wouldn't be in the picture for him. I 
don't mean just from a career standpoint. He's just not 
that kind of a person. That's not what he's interested 

LEHMER: I understand. 

HEINECKEN: And certainly people who were making 
photographs in that program or any program that coincided 
with his thinking he would certainly be interested in, but 
not specifically teaching photography. 


LEHMER: It would seem to me--and tell me how you feel 
about this--that he is trying to break away from the 
baggage of process. He's careful about his association 
with photography as a medium. Historically, departments 
are separated by mediums. The school of art has a photo 
department, a painting department. 

HEINECKEN: But this is not a criticism at all. This is 
smart. When it's convenient for him to associate with the 
medium, if it's the right venue or the right exposure or 
whatever, he does it. There were shows of California 
photography or something at the Museum of Modern Art, and 
there was a very limited number of people, five or six or 
something like that, and he was one, because the curators 
there recognized that he was important. If you want to 
see what California photography was about, you can't 
disinclude him. But it's his decision to do that, because 
it's the Museum of Modern Art. That's what I would think. 
It's not Indiana or someplace that's doing this. And I 
think actually the effect of a person like that is 
probably greater when it's done from the outside. It's 
subversive in a sense that way as opposed to being on the 
inside of that. I don't think that my work has anything 
more to do with photography than his does, but I 
associated myself with the teaching profession for a long 
time, and you get that label, and he, for whatever reason, 


did not choose to do that. 

The joke I told you is true: you don't burn your 
photographs. Nobody does that. They might burn their 
photographs and be a writer or something, but you can't do 
that and make paintings. But if you know painting, you 
can certainly do those photographs. It's just a minor 
shift into-- Not minor, but it ' s a shift into another 
frame of mind about it. 

LEHMER: All right. I think of an area that in California 
or West Coast art making, photography specifically — You 
might look at photography as art making versus documenting. 
Then there would be what we just touched on: Baldessari ' s 
conceptual art and using photography as a tool. Then 
there's a redefinition of documentary by Allan Sekula. 
There's kind of an evolution there from straight 
documentary, FSA [Farm Security Administration]-- I think 
of what you do as partially appropriation, but that's just 
kind of a gimmick in a sense. There's consciously on your 
part a picking up of images and creating an environment 
with those images to redefine something. It's your own 
statement, your own idea, but it's using existing images. 

LEHMER: I think of George Carlin as someone who's 
constantly looking as an outsider at our culture with the 
way we use words. He can make us just burst out laughing 


because he can say a word, and the way he says it — He's 

masterful at — 

HEINECKEN: And Lenny Bruce before him. 

LEHMER: And Lenny Bruce. 

HEINECKEN: I've had a thought here. I've been using the 

term "photographist" lately to define what I am. 

LEHMER: Photographist? 

HEINECKEN: Yes. If you use the word "artist" or anything 

with "-ist" on it in this language, it means something. 

I'm not sure how to define that, but "photographist" is 

perfect. I got this term from--I wish I'd invented it-- 

this writer who is named Arthur Danto. He's one of the 

most interesting art historians, because he's not an art 

historian. He's a Ph.D. in philosophy with an interest in 

art, so his mind is not locked into the history of art, 

it's the history of thinking. So whenever you see his 

name, you've got to read it, because he sees through-- I 

mean, he's just wonderful. Anyway, he did a review of the 

German photography show that toured, went to New York, and 

actually came here. He calls them photographists, because 

they're not photographers. They're just guys like 

Baldessari . 

LEHMER: That reminds me of another term — 

HEINECKEN: So now when somebody asks me on the airplane 

what I do, I say I'm a photographist. And they say, 


"What's that?" Then I go back to my book. I don't answer 

It. But it's a great term, I think. 

LEHMER: So we've gone from photography as realistic 

document-- And when I say that I just stumble over ten 

trap doors. Maybe there's a challenge there, because 

anyone who picks up a camera and begins to work with it 

understands the subjective level of the work, how 

deceptive the term is that "the photograph never lies," or 

"a photograph is worth a thousand words." But anybody who 

picks up a camera knows that — 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. Originally, I was told recently, 

there's a Chinese proverb from ancient times which says, 

"Scroll painting is worth a thousand words, " not 

photography. Some nineteenth-century person stole that 


LEHMER: Oh, that's interesting. But I think that it's so 

incredibly edited, so heavily edited — 


APRIL 27, 1996 

LEHMER: It's heavily edited. It's a medium where anybody 

who picks up a camera and records something realizes that 

they have a lot of control over how it ' s exposed or how it 

is composed. Then you take it one step further where you 

have to deal with the complexities of not only your own 

personal statement but the original intent of the work and 

how you have rearranged that. It's like taking words — 

Sheila Pinkel has done work where she'll take a word like 

"realize, " like you realize something, and "r-e-a-1 e-y- 

e-s," from a portrait of an Indian, and it showed his 

eyes, and then "r-e-a-1 1-i-e-s" meaning that something 

was deceptive. 

HEINECKEN: Yeah, to make it happen. 

LEHMER: Yeah, but the thing that is interesting with that 

work is to show how the same sound can mean totally 

different things or evolve-- 

HEINECKEN: Especially the English language is weird that 


LEHMER: Is it? You in a sense carry that on in your own 

work. Somehow you see the original intent- -obviously if 

it's something that's an advertisement in a magazine — but 

then you somehow have developed a good ability to look at 


things critically, but more than that, with your own 
perspective, and you begin to gather resource materials 
and pull them together and then make your own statement. 
But it's still a critical look as an outsider attacking 
the culture of a society or observing-- In a sense, I 
think you're saying maybe we take ourselves too seriously. 
I don't know exactly if I'm putting words in your mouth. 
That's a different direction than what Baldessari does 
with the image versus what Allan Sekula does with the 
image. I mean, there are some very interesting things 
that happen here in Los Angeles photographically. 
HEINECKEN: Well, while I'm thinking about it, this show 
at MOCA [Museum of Contemporary Art]--I guess it's still 
there — which housed- - 
LEHMER: Is it a social documentary? 
HEINECKEN: No, it's the history of, let's call it, 
"concept art" or whatever in Los Angeles, basically. A 
high percentage of that work involves photography. The 
rest of it involves the text that explains to you the 
picture that you're looking at. You wouldn't be able to 
define what that movement was about without understanding 
that there has got to be a use of explanation which is 
counter to what you're seeing. [William] Wegman is a good 
example of this, I think, not with his dog stuff, 
necessarily, but in his early photographs and tapes. I 


mean, these are kind of buzz words. The whole 
exhibition- -which is then to say the art- -could not have 
existed without people using photographs, not to explain 
things but to show you things and text to explain things 
or show you things. So without those combinations of text 
and photographs we would never have had that consistent a 
shift into what we call "idea art" or "concept art" or 
something like that. 

It was just very clear to me in seeing the exhibition 
what was going on there. None of those people would have 
identified themselves with the art of photography. Quite 
the opposite. Take Baldessari. Maybe I'm wrong, but he 
takes a picture of something and does something to it. He 
doesn't manipulate the photograph. He puts a dot on it, 
or he puts texts over it, or he puts it in sequence or 
whatever. It's not manipulated in the way that I do, for 
instance. I mean, I want to use the material that people 
think they ' ve seen before or they have seen before and 
simply physically do something to it rather than use it as 
a kind of element in the work. I don't know if this is 
the right way to approach this. Its relation to society 
has to do not necessarily with what I'm putting into it. 
I mean, that helps. It's really because they're seeing 
familiar pictures in a way they've never seen before. So 
if you see a pornographic picture in negative, it ' s a 


simple shift, the simplest thing you could do. But you 
can't be offended by it. It's weird, isn't it? You know 
it's pornography, but it's not real, it's reversed. If 
that offends you, then you've got to go not to the picture 
but to the intent of the picture, and then you could say, 
"Well, that's an intention which is pornographic" or 
something like that. But you can't be offended by the 
picture, because it's not-- You can't read it. 

But there are other people-- See, there's another 
thing that happens in here. This is just sort of the 
history of this. At some point the idea of using 
photography, used like-- Robert Gumming is a very good 
example. His is very straightforward photography, but 
it's made from contrived materials. I would say most of 
the interesting photographs made then and now are those 
kinds of pictures. 
LEHMER: They're contrived? 
HEINECKEN: Well, they're staged. 
LEHMER: I think of John Divola, JoAnn Callis-- 
HEINECKEN: Yes. The photograph is simply the medium by 
which you explain whatever it is that you're interested 
in. It's not photography in the sense that we want to 
remember it or that we want a picture of Aunt Elsie. How 
you use the photograph is not as important as do you take 
it from nature or do you take it from the studio. These 


are completely different worlds, right? And that 
separates documentary from something else. It's not the 
way that the photograph is made, but is the photograph 
preconceived to be something which you construct to 
photograph? I don't do that, and Baldessari, as far as I 
can see, doesn't do that. His photographs--sometimes he 
takes them from other sources, sometimes he makes them 
himself- -are not casual photographs when he puts dots on 
them or whatever. They can't be. Nobody puts a red dot 
over Aunt Elsie's face. 

There's another point here--I'm glad I thought of 
this because it's something that I usually would have 
thought of as primary in teaching anybody about this — and 
that is to connect it directly to language. Say you have 
a language, right? You have all kinds of structural 
things that language-- Language is wonderful. You can 
take the same ten words which are a logical sentence of 
some kind that everybody understands, and you can reverse 
the order of the words. You then have a different thing. 
You still pronounce the words, but they don't make sense, 
because the structure has shifted. Eventually that idea 
becomes poetry. So if it's a poetic idea as opposed to, 
let's call it, literature or some kind of writing, it's 
just a flexible set of conditions with which you can do 
anything . 


A photograph is exactly the same kind of thing. You 
say "tree," and an image comes to your mind. It's not a 
particular tree, but it ' s a tree. You can say "green 
tree"-- I'm rambling a little bit here. But the point is 
that it's the context in which the photograph finds itself 
which determines its meaning, just like language and the 
sequence of things. The fact that we pronounce two 
different words which mean two different things but are 
spelled the same way in this language, no other language 
in the world would do that. It's just nuts. The English 
language is the predominant form for most of the poetry. 
You can't read poetry in a foreign language and get it 
really, but you can see the structure of it as you're 
reading it. Even though you don't know what the words 
are, you know it's poetry by the way it's laid out and so 
on. It's not sentences, paragraphs, columns. It's not 

I think that the easiest way to teach people about 
photography is to simply say, "It's language. Think of it 
that way." The relationship of sequencing to language is 
obviously a literary idea. If you invent a word like some 
writers do, you don't know what it means, but it rhymes, 
or it's structurally the correct kind of word even though 
you don't need to identify its exact meaning. So you can 
have a very good sentence structure to explain a 


particular idea, which is kind of what a documentary 
photograph does. You want to put it in the order of the 
words correctly so that we read it correctly, which is 
then called a good photograph, if everything that you want 
to be in there is there. Robert Frank is excellent at 
this, for instance. You sequence them like language. 
Then you have a kind of poetic structure using ten very 
straightforward pictures, but it's put into a language 
structure. You see the point I'm making? 
LEHMER: Yeah. John Collier was the first person — The 
most lasting impressions that I have of my early 
photography education-- 

HEINECKEN: He was an anthropologist, basically. 
LEHMER: A visual anthropologist. 

HEINECKEN: Probably the first one to use that term. 
LEHMER: That's right. He was considered the father of 
that or the creator of that. But I could see him in his 
older years- -that was back in the early seventies, and he 
kept going and kept going- -coming into class. We'd have 
our work up on the wall with pushpins. He'd come in, and 
he would just come up to you real fast, almost startle 
you, and pointing to his hearing aid he'd say, "Speak into 
this. I can't hear well." Then he would go up and grab 
photographs and take them off the wall and switch their 
order and jam the pushpins in- -and destroy the picture 


probably--then all of a sudden you'd look at it and go, 
"Holy God, it's totally different." He showed us 
physically how sequence has such an influence on what's 
being said. [tape recorder off] 

Okay, what I think we're trying to accomplish here is 
an attempt at defining some of the directions that people 
have taken in their artwork with the use of photography. 
I think of that statement I have used to help people 
understand certain photography or certain movements or 
interests by saying that there is less of an objective of 
photographers making art and that it has evolved to 
artists making photographs or using photographs to make 
art. I think that's kind of what we're hinting at with 
Baldessari, since he doesn't want to be defined as a 
photographer but as an artist who uses photography. 
HEINECKEN: Well, we don't know what he thinks exactly, 
but something like that, sure. This invention here is not 
to be denied in any way. These are some very important 
things that he's done, and it's a romantic idea like 
burning his paintings, but I have to believe that this is 
an honest situation. Nobody's going to burn something for 
a career. You'd see through it or something like that. 

Wegman is another. Wegman's had some very 
interesting photographs and stuff, still does. But the 
dog theme obviously becomes a career thing. Baldessari is 


not going to continue to put red and green dots on 
photographs; he's already somewhere else. Whereas what 
Wegman does is simply refine the idea of humor, which gets 
kind of darker and darker the more you see of it. It's an 
interesting thing. But still, the dog has got to be in 
there or else you're not so likely to buy it. If it's a 
cat, maybe. But if it loses the animal thing--I'm joking, 
kind of --then you're back to concept art without a dog. I 
don't know what my point is there, but I wanted to-- 

Before I forget, the thing about San Francisco and 
the F/64 group preceded anything I think that would have 
happened in Los Angeles. The only person during that time 
period who would have stood out as a photographer would be 
William Mortensen, who is kind of nuts. 
LEHMER: What kind of work did William Mortensen do? 
HEINECKEN: Well, Mortensen did basically metaphoric or 
historic setups using women--and usually young women, and 
usually nude or half-clothed--like sex stuff. But the 
other one — I can't think of his name. Graham Howe did an 
exhibition and a catalog of this guy's, a very formal 
advertising photographer from Los Angeles. At the same 
time that you've got Mortensen in Laguna [Beach] doing 
this, you've got this other guy, Paul Outerbridge, doing 
the opposite. Max Yavno would be another person that-- At 
the time no one knew anything about him, but obviously he 


was photographing in Los Angeles during that time doing 
documentary work. And then [Edmund] Teske was here. But 
Teske was, whatever he is, not someone that you'd look to 
outside of a very small circle of people as a force, but 
he was important because his work was manipulated and 
expressive. There's no nature here. That's the two 
things I'm trying to get at, though. There was no culture 
here like there was a culture in San Francisco during this 
time period. 

LEHMER: What do you mean by culture? There's a 
photographic patronage or? 

HEINECKEN: Well, not just that. What does Los Angeles 
have besides the entertainment industry? If you think 
back to the twenties and thirties when some of this 
starts, there's nobody going to be doing photographs. 
It's the movies, it's the entertainment business, it's the 
glitz, and it's still that way. That's why San Francisco 
is like it is. I mean, they had a symphony before we had 
outhouses down here. [laughs] It's true. This city 
didn't exist until after World War II. It did not exist 
as a city. I mean, it did, but it was nothing. If MOCA 
wasn't here you wouldn't have anything in this city. The 
County Museum isn't doing a hell of a lot, and the 
galleries are basically sedate. I don't know whether the 
music and theater are very good, but I don't think so 


compared to New York or Chicago or San Francisco. We have 
an industry of television and film, and it's wonderful. 
It gives a lot of people work. But there could never have 
been an F/64 situation here. What would you photograph? 
I mean, you've got an ocean, but you've got no seaweed. 
It's just that that's a different place. 

There were four or five people here in Los Angeles 
that I'm trying to remember, but very few. Mortensen and 
Ansel Adams did a series of arguments back and forth in 
Camera Life or some early-- Ansel Adams was actually 
arguing with this guy in print about what he really should 
be doing. Mortensen was saying, "You asshole. This is 
what I'm doing, and this is what you should be doing." It 
was nuts . I'm trying to say that Los Angeles developed 
along lines that are completely different. It's no 
surprise that you have people like [Garry] Winogrand or 
[Lee] Friedlander using the city basically as their 
subject matter. Well, there's no city here. There's a 
city in Chicago, a city with a few people — Danny Lyon, 
whoever- -doing stuff like that. A city and its 
environment produces certain kinds of things. If there's 
nothing here except entertainment, then I think it's 
logical that L.A. would be a place where you'd start 
screwing around with regular photographs. That's a focus 
here, because there is no beautiful landscape here, 


really, and no drama, no clouds. 

LEHMER: It's not a matter of whether there's a beautiful 
landscape here or not. You can certainly see the beauty 
in the desert or in the ocean. There's a painting school 
that — 

HEINECKEN: Yeah, I know. But Yosemite [National Park] is 
not here. 

LEHMER: Well, yeah. But Yosemite isn't in San Francisco, 
either. What you do see here as the prevailing strength 
is the creating of a fantasy or the creating in film or in 
a commercial, a very powerful, dominant financial 
business. Everybody's life is influenced by this because 
of all the people who work for the industry. But it's 
creating — What was the term we used earlier about 
photography? It's about the people who built their work 
in the studio. We were talking about JoAnn Callis, John 
Divola. I think of Eileen Cowin, you, Baldessari-- 
HEINECKEN: Well, not me. I don't use photographs that 
way. All those people are making those photographs. 
LEHMER: Well, they're making them, but the unity that I 
see is that you're not dealing with the reality of the 
landscape or the idea of "Let's take a picture of Aunt 
Ruth so that we can remember her." You're not satisfied 
with that. What I mean by the studio is that you're 
taking ideas and interpreting them, creating new or 


different ideas that are your own ideas, your own 
interpretations of what's there. You may be using 
existing imagery that people see in public places, but 
it's all remanufactured--like stories are remanuf actured 
in this town. I mean, that's the one thing that I think 
of as so dominant. It's not necessarily that there is a 
beauty here but that there's something else that-- 
HEINECKEN: Well, maybe it's not the dominant factor here, 

LEHMER: So I find that thread of unity interesting, and 
that these galleries are responding to the work that's 
being produced. I guess a question that I have for you 
is, these galleries were not necessarily bringing work 
from the East Coast out here as much as they were showing 
local work? 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. That's true during this time period, 
with the exception of the few exhibitions that were done 
through the Grunwald, which were national exhibitions. 
LEHMER: With a sense of historic context or--? 
HEINECKEN: Yeah, and trying simply to show a range of 
material which would include all of the ways in which 
photography is used to make art, including the straight 
photograph . 

People have always tried to make a case for this, and 
I think in a certain way it can be done with painting. 


There's also something in Los Angeles that produced, and I 
think it still does to an extent, a kind of-- Someone 
[Billy Al Bengston] coined it "fetish finish" or something 
like that, which would be epitomized by-- But there's a 
slick quality to a lot of Los Angeles art, while there's 
no angst necessarily. I mean, certainly there is some, 
but there's a kind of idea here that-- Like Robert Irwin. 
You couldn't get anything cooler than that, and yet it's 
absolutely mind-boggling. I don't think that that would 
have happened-- I'm not going to say it's the light in 
L.A. or some crazy thing like that. There's just 
something about the organization of material which is 
possible in a physical climate like this. The shine. I 
read something not too long ago that the only place where 
the idea of modifying automobiles starts is in L.A. This 
still doesn't happen in San Francisco. Why would you do 
it, you know? So there's something about a climate — I 
mean the physical and intellectual and whatever- -that this 
city has which allows it to be particularly interesting. 
It's not always the best, but it's particularly kind of 

LEHMER: There's a freedom. 

HEINECKEN: Billy Al Bengston was the painter I was trying 
to think of about the "fetish finish." It was Larry Bell, 
and it was just kind of really slick stuff, which is just 


gorgeous but without any problems, you know? Where is the 

problem here? Ed [Edward] Ruscha is very interesting in 

this time period, also, with the books and stuff. 

LEHMER: And he also preceded Baldessari's work. 

HEINECKEN: Yeah, I guess. I'm not sure. 

LEHMER: I mean, I think of that sequence of Sunset 

Boulevard — 

HEINECKEN: But he didn't make all of those photographs. 

These are his ideas, and I don't know-- I shouldn't say 

that without knowing more, but I know he didn't photograph 

the gas stations. He might have done some, but he had 

people do those things. He didn't walk Sunset Strip doing 

that by himself. But of course, it is his idea, his 


LEHMER: That brings us to another point that's important 

that I have seen here, and that is people are trying to 

work on a stronger contextual basis and are less concerned 

about the execution of craft. Your own curriculum dealt 

with the exploration of process without being wedded to 

craft to have the freedom, the fluidity of this 

environment, so that we don't have the baggage of those 

heavy museums in New York. 

HEINECKEN: Yeah, that's right. 

LEHMER: Robert Loescher comes out here. I pick him up at 

the airport here. He's an art historian and the chair of 


the art history program at the Art Institute of Chicago. 
I pick him up, and we're driving down one of the L.A. 
freeways, and he says, "It's just great to be here. It's 
an incredible breath of fresh air. I live in Chicago, I 
was just in New York, and there's nothing like L.A." I 
mean, it's just like it's wide open. There's a freedom, a 
brightness here. That angst that you were talking about-- 
I don't know. I used to talk about coming to the West 
Coast. There was like a whole f-stop of enlightenment or 

HEINECKEN: I think for photography but also for films and 
all sorts of media things-- 

LEHMER: Now, what we're trying to do is to struggle with 
the redefinition of — 

HEINECKEN: Well, we know it's different. I've lived here 
all my life, and it is different. I think it's a very 
wonderful place to live, but it's not a city, really. It 
was never a city. It's a little bit of a city downtown 
there. You get a sense that that's where it started. 
LEHMER: Yeah, if you're talking about tall buildings 
and — 

HEINECKEN: Well, and a subway system, a train system, a 
bus system, libraries-- It doesn't have those things. 
There was no "city" here until World War II. It was a 
bunch of loosely organized land grants that they stole 


from the Mexicans. The history of Beverly Glen I just was 
reading the other day. Until 1940 this place was 
wilderness, and it still didn't have any houses until 
after World War II. Laurel Canyon, Bel Air all the same. 
Everything. Every canyon here was a canyon until the war, 
when people started coming out here. They needed the 
houses or whatever. It's a weird place that way. 
Detroit-- No cities grow that way. Manhattan is on this 
island. That's it. It can't go anywhere else. In 
Chicago it's the Loop. That's where all the buildings 
are; that's where all the action is. Downtown L.A., you 
can't find a thing down there. It's all on Rodeo Drive. 
Anyway, that's neither here nor there. But it's a very 
interesting place, I think. 

LEHMER: It's hard to have an institution that isn't based 
on a physical location. I'm thinking of one of the 
frustrations with LACPS. Maybe it ' s a positive thing, in 
a sense, that they're infiltrated throughout the community 
and using a darkroom here, an exhibition space there, but 
also it's an Achilles' heel that it doesn't have a 
physical location. In this town it's hard to just 
congregate at the bistro. 

HEINECKEN: Well, the mission — whatever that was — of 
photography is over at this point. It's not a good 
"over," it's just over. You have the galleries, you have 


the museums, you have collectors, you have all of the 
things that make the thing work, but it's a very recent 
development compared to the other cities. My guess is it 
will never be the kind of cosmopolitan situation that 
Chicago or New York is. It just can't be. You can't buy 
that culture. You can't buy that history. It's a 
wonderfully sleepy place, apparently. 

LEHMER: But there's good work that has been produced 

HEINECKEN: Oh, absolutely. I think it's an ideal place 
for artists. There is no school of thought here that you 
have to think about. And although I'm sorry to say it's 
over, you don't need LACPS anymore--like you don't need 
SPE--except to allow it to organically change its concept 
or its philosophical position relative to the medium. 
That's important. That's what SPE does, that's what LACPS 
does. But it's not Angel Eye or Ohio Silver trying to 
make the public aware that there's an artform here that 
you're not looking at or you're not using somehow. That's 
over. That's all here now. Pace[Wildenstein] and 
Gagosian [Gallery] bring their galleries to Beverly Hills, 
that's a big thing. There are millions of dollars being 
pumped into the premise that there is movie and 
entertainment money in L.A. , and it's more comfortable for 
these people to buy their art here if they can get the 


same art here they can get in New York without going to 
New York. That's their premise. I don't know whether 
that will work. We'll find out. 

LEHMER: I was going to say that what I've seen in the 
last five or ten years at the most has been galleries from 
New York that are opening up their satellites in Los 
Angeles. I don't know if I'm correct on this, but it 
seems to me that there ' s a stronger connection between New 
York galleries and Los Angeles than there would be with 
other communities. 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. Well, that's where the money is. I 
mean, a museum isn't going to produce money, like L.A. 
County or MOCA. They're not to do that. It's just the 
dealers. You can buy paintings and donate it to a museum 
and get the write-off, but those collections are just kind 
of thin things . They ' re somebody ' s taste . Maybe 
collectively they make up a picture of art. I'm just 
saying that those galleries move here for a couple of 
reasons. It's not because they think it's an interesting 
place or the real estate is good; it's because the money 
is here. The idea is to woo the people with the money to 
not go to New York but bring those galleries--those two in 
particular, and maybe there will be more--and put them in 
Beverly Hills, where the money is. 
LEHMER: But this town isn't limited to having to put it 


in Beverly Hills. I don't think-- 
HEINECKEN: That's where the money is. 

LEHMER: Well, the money is in all of Southern California. 
There's a lot of money in Santa Monica. 
HEINECKEN: No, nobody lives in Santa Monica--! mean, 
nobody that could live in Beverly Hills and Bel Air. 
LEHMER: Yeah, but people love their cars. They may live 
in Beverly Hills, but they're certainly going to eat in 
Santa Monica and patronize La Brea [Avenue] or-- 
HEINECKEN: Well, La Brea, yeah. 

LEHMER: But I think it can happen, whether it's Colorado 
Avenue in Santa Monica or La Brea. And it used to be La 
Cienega Boulevard. 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. I see your point. You're right, there 
are definitely active exhibition spaces and dealers here, 
very much so. What I'm trying to say is maybe you've got 
five galleries in New York that are the galleries, and at 
the same time two of them open satellite galleries here. 
Like one would be [Leo] Castelli--although that's 
dispersed now- -and maybe there are two or three others 
that could have done that. But none of them have the 
money that these people have. I think it's a very 
interesting experiment with them, that's all, but it's a 
millions of dollars experiment, right? Actually, you can 
get real estate on Wilshire Boulevard--if my information 


is correct — in Beverly Hills for about a third of what you 
can get it anywhere else in the country. All those 
buildings are empty on Wilshire Boulevard. That's why 
they can go there. It's cheap. There are good leases. 
It's still a lot of money. 

LEHMER: Yeah. It's a strange economy that I don't 
understand . 

There are two things I wanted to try to get over with 
today, and I don't know if we're going to make it. We 
mentioned the galleries. Can you think back on, in light 
of what we've been talking about this morning, what kind 
of work they tried to show? Where were their interests? 
We'll start with Angel Eye. What kind of work can you 
think of that they found interesting or important to 
promote, to push? 

HEINECKEN: I don't know. I don't think there would have 
been a — 

LEHMER: Well, they made choices. 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. I think business people, or those 
pretending to be business people, would make those choices 
based on what they think they can move, if it's a dealer, 
or what reflects the interest of the owner, which would 
have to be eclectic at that point. It wouldn't be a 
photography gallery-- It wouldn't make sense if you only 
showed documentary photographs or only manipulated 


photographs or only color photographs. It's got to be a 
kind of palette of stuff that can appeal to this group and 
that group so that the collectors aren't exposed only to a 
certain kind of thing. It's important that they're 
exposed to things that are contemporary. All of these 
styles, if we can call them that, coexist still. 

There isn't a photo gallery or an art gallery, I 
don't think, that would be stylistically based on a 
certain kind of idea. Fahey/Klein Gallery comes closest 
to something in this regard, which I worked with for 
years. I was probably the exception to most of what he 
showed. He has a clientele in mind. He's a very good, 
personable, smart, energetic, compassionate person about 
who his clientele is. That's why he's still there. He 
knows that there's a mystique. People who are in the 
entertainment business like to see photographs of the 
entertainment business in a serious way. That's what they 
buy generally. That's why that gallery is the way it is. 
He will show you newer, younger work- -he has a premise to 
do that--but his business is in a certain kind of picture. 
LEHMER: Would you say that's true with other galleries, 
like Jan Kesner [Gallery]? 

HEINECKEN: I don't know her situation as well as I do 
Fahey. She seems to have an idea that the downstairs will 
always be something contemporary with unknown young 


artists, while the upstairs is where you would really sell 
the stuff with artists like Eugene Smith and Ansel Adams 
or whoever you've got up there. So it's at least a place 
where you'll see younger people or people you haven't seen 
before. But if you notice, you'll go in there, and the 
upstairs is going to be a different thing, and that's for 
the collector. 

The interesting person is [G. Ray] Hawkins [Gallery], 
but I just don't go there anymore. It's not interesting 
to me. He's got the longest tenure, really, in this city 
as a going gallery. He's had--what?--three or four 
locations? He keeps moving up. He happens to have a lot 
of money to begin with--or his wife did--which is not a 
bad thing. I just haven't followed his gallery in the 
last ten years. Of course, when I'm going back and forth 
to Chicago for twenty years, I miss a lot of stuff here. 
I'm not really as filled in as I should be or could be 
about it. 

LEHMER: Now, let's back up to the Camerawork Gallery. 
What were its objectives? It made some major jumps from 
Costa Mesa to Corona del Mar to the Bay Area — 
HEINECKEN: That's a tough question. I can't remember a 
lot of shows there. I do know that whenever they had an 
opening you would drive down to Costa Mesa. It was a long 
drive, but it was worth going to see. I can't go much 


beyond that, but John Upton would know a lot about the 
history of that. I think it was eclectic stuff. 
LEHMER: Okay. We're at the end of the tape here. What I 
want to do is to give us a lead into the next time. I 
really like where we went this time as far as getting into 
the personal work of the individual people that actually 
created the climate. If we can back out a little bit next 
time and talk about George Eastman House, Museum of Modern 
Art, Art Institute of Chicago, San Francisco Museum [of 
Art] , and just touch briefly on-- 

HEINECKEN: One of the things that I wanted to mention — 
I'll say it now so you can remember it--when we were 
discussing different kinds of photographs, there were at 
least a dozen shows during, let's say, a ten- or fifteen- 
year period-- The Museum of Modern Art — and this is more 
recent — does Mirrors and Windows. John Upton did an 
exhibition here of Minor White, Robert Gumming, and me, 
and the title reflects those three. I forget what the 
title is. But it's--and all institutions would have this-- 
an idea where you're as a museum trying to explain to the 
public what it is that might be interesting about this. 
John's show was excellent, because there were three 
completely different approaches to this. Szarkowski's 
thing is much more general; it's either a mirror or a 
window. It's not saying much beyond that. But as you 


look through it and you read his text, this is the first 
time in his professional career that he's paid any 
attention at all to this premise that, yes, there are 
another 50 percent of photographs out there that have 
nothing to do with his taste, nothing to do with his 
description of what makes a good photograph. It's an 
acknowledgement that, "Yes, at this time, at this late 
point in my career, I'm going to do this exhibition at the 
Museum of Modern Art." 


MAY 11, 1996 

LEHMER: Earlier we touched on it, and today I wanted to 
see if we could clarify what some of the major shows were 
in the sixties and maybe some of those museums that you 
were saying were collecting photography. You had 
mentioned last time that they were trying to educate the 
public to what might be interesting. The museums were 
taking on that role, which I guess they always do, to try 
to explain themselves or to explain what they think is 
important . 

LEHMER: We've got the Museum of Modern Art with John 
Szarkowski. Some of the major shows-- The Family of Man 
is, of course, one that I think of as a starter, and that 
was in the late forties? Early fifties? 
HEINECKEN: I would guess around '50 I'm not sure. 
LEHMER: I'm drawing a blank on some of the more recent 
shows. Can you think of any major shows that were 
important in the sixties or seventies up to--? Then, of 
course, there was one of the finales for John Szarkowski, 
Mirrors and Windows. 

HEINECKEN: Well, it wasn't really a finale. But it was 
certainly important for him to do that show, because it 


was — which I think we talked about a little bit--the first 
time, really, that he was willing to acknowledge that 
there was this other whole set of pictorial circumstances 
in photography or in using photography. I mean, they were 
buying things a little bit and stuff like that. It wasn't 
that they weren't aware or that he wasn't aware of the 
importance of it. But there was never a full-blown 
exhibition like this with a book and the whole explanation 
of the difference between documentary or so-called 
straight photography as opposed to other manipulated 
works. He was very smart in terms of this mirrors-windows 
thing. This is a very clear way--it's a catchy title--of 
suggesting a view outside as opposed to inside or 
something interior. And it traveled a lot. 
LEHMER: A personal exploration versus — 
HEINECKEN: Yeah. A kind of witnessing. 

LEHMER: A witnessing. I have heard it said--tell me if 
this is right or not--that it was kind of a Robert Frank 
camp versus a Minor White camp. It's not really-- Camp 
has a bad definition in my mouth. It's more of a 
direction. I don't know if you agree with that or not. 
What do you think? 

HEINECKEN: Well, Minor White in all of this — We should 
talk a little bit about when he was at-- 
LEHMER: San Francisco [Art Institute]? 



LEHMER: RIT [Rochester Institute of Technology]? 
HEINECKEN: MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology] he 
finally ended up at-- 
LEHMER: Oh, that's right. 

HEINECKEN: --and curated a series of exhibitions, in 
which he corresponded with all the people that he knew so 
that their photographic work would be in line with 
whatever the theme of this particular show would be. 
There were, I think, four of them, something like that. 
One, I remember, was Be-ing without Clothes, which was 
about that subject. 

So what I'm getting at is that it's not just, let's 
say, the distinction between the mirror and the window. 
Because within the window you would have someone like 
Robert Frank, who was absolutely a witness to something, 
as opposed to Minor White, who would be the poetic or 
spiritual side of that. There was an aesthetic being 
proposed by him that was neither, let's say, strictly a 
window nor a mirror or that kind of distinction, but it 
was spiritual. It was personal and basically formal 
pictures. Basically it's based on what I would call 
poetic decisions or distinctions of form. It's what the 
picture looks like, how well it's printed, how well it's 
presented, how it's sequenced, and all of those things 


which get deeper into-- Well, not deeper into, but 
broadens the concept of what might be a straight 
photograph. Because at that point you begin to have 
people setting up in the studio as opposed to outside or 
wherever, but still holding to the tenets of whatever the 
camera sees is what you're going to use. You're not going 
to screw with it after that or put it with anything else. 
On one level he's within a certain community of aesthetes 
or something like that. He was very much as important as 
John Szarkowski was or anybody else, Nathan [Lyons]. It 
was a smaller, more-- I think spiritual is the word I want 
here. And of course, he was gay and had workshops that 
people like [Carl] Chiarenza and [Paul] Caponigro and the 
guy that's in New Mexico now — 
LEHMER: Not Frederick Sommer? 

HEINECKEN: No. I'll think of it later. [Walter Chapell] 
But anyway, these were people in school or just out of 
school who would actually go to study with Minor White and 
in some cases live in his big house in Boston. If you 
went there, you really lived that life, which was like a 
religious or spiritual life, with the resulting pictures 
being evidence of that somehow. He's a very complicated 
person with very complicated ideas. His exhibitions were 
important, as well, to major museums, because he would do 
it, I guess, through the aegis of MIT or wherever he 


happened to be, but it would be his. He's curating and 
making all the choices. I didn't know him really well, 
although good friends of mine like Carl or Caponigro were 
people who came directly out of his way of thinking and 
then broke with it, obviously. That's where they got 
started, really, was this-- I can't even describe it. You 
know, I keep saying "spiritual." That's as close as I 
think I can get to it. 

We did talk about Persistence of Vision, which I 
thought was the first exhibition to really make these 
distinctions about-- 
LEHMER: And that was Nathan Lyons? 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. He first did Toward a Social Landscape, 
and then he did Persistence of Vision. And the third one 
was supposed to be something--! don't know what the title 
was he had for it--but it didn't get produced, I think 
because of his leaving the [George] Eastman House 
[International Museum of Photography and Film], The third 
show was to have Carl in it, and Caponigro would have been 
in it. There would have been five people like that, 
again, who were not seeing it as social landscapes, 
certainly, and not manipulating it like Persistence of 
Vision, but poetic. That exhibition didn't get made. 
Certainly his premise was that those were the three 
distinctions, as opposed to Szarkowski's two. 


Get that book [Heinecken exhibition catalog] open and 
let's look at these dates, because I can't remember my 
chronology there. I mean, there are certainly hundreds of 
exhibitions during this time period. Okay, here's from 
1960 to 1980--that's when this book stops. You've got — 
what? — twenty-five one-person exhibitions, which is a lot. 
I mean, it's only twenty years, really, which I'm simply 
pointing that out because it wasn't just me that would 
have that number. Most of the people- -like Carl or 
whoever- -would have the same number of one-person 
exhibitions, which just shows you the vitality or the 
interest that there was in the medium. 

Then if you go to the group exhibitions, it's the 
same pattern. I mean, there's just hundreds. I was 
probably in a high percentage of them, but certainly I 
wasn't in all of them. There were hundreds of them during 
this time period all over. You saw this show, for 
instance, in 1966. You said Persistence of Vision. 
LEHMER: That's right. 

HEINECKEN: Which was a very important exhibition. 
LEHMER: That was my introduction to photography in an 

HEINECKEN: Here's another one. This was Photography for 
Collectors, Museum of Modern Art--that's '67- -which was 
the first time that that museum put together an exhibition 


and ran through the gamut of things that they had 
collected. Their collection was mostly along the straight 
photography idea. Peter Bunnell was involved in that. He 
was an intern with the museum at that point, and he wrote 
a very interesting text about-- Well, there was another 
show called Photography as Printmaking. These were both-- 
Bunnell was connected to both of these — broadening the 
appeal of the medium to the public. There were by that 
time--certainly not a lot--private collectors. They are 
important not to just the museums because of the feedback 
or the gifts that they would give eventually, but to the 
dealers who were beginning to show up, especially in New 

I'll just glance at something here. Well, here's the 
date of the first show that we did at UCLA, Contemporary 
Photography, that's '68. Here's the other show I was 
talking about. Photography as Printmaking, 1968. This is 
the one that Bunnell did. All of these are important, not 
only because of the subject or what was being shown, but 
for the sites, the venues. In this case places like UCLA, 
which people know about, or the Museum of Modern Art, 
which people know about definitely. Most of these, on the 
other hand, are just small places, some university. 
LEHMER: That indicates that there was a grassroots 
interest in the potential of that medium. 


HEINECKEN: Yeah, absolutely. It was maybe not at this 
stage. But certainly when you get into the seventies, 
things like SPE [Society for Photographic Education] 
happen. It's the medium that is new, fresh. The ideas 
are not pinned down. The schools of thought are not 
pinned down yet. So people like these curators are making 
this up as they go along, which is, of course, what 
happens. It was a very exciting time period not only for 
the artists involved in it but for the public. 

Here's another show. Vision and Expression, which 
Nathan put together. It was a large exhibition that 
traveled, I think, maybe six or seven different places all 
over the country. Of course, exposure outside of the East 
Coast and New York was very important at that time. 
LEHMER: I remember that, too. Big catalog. 
HEINECKEN: In 1970 here's an exhibition I was in 
in England at Exeter University. So it would be 
interesting-- We don't need to worry about this. At the 
same time these things in Europe start showing up, and 
later in Japan. France had the largest collection of 
photographs in the world at that time, because their laws 
were that everybody who made a photograph and sold it had 
to give them a copy. But they had no sense of what it 
was. It was just a giant archive which they began then to 
sort out and distribute and exhibit. About the same time 


all of the interest in European history of photography 
became exposed. Places like [Museum] Folkwang in Essen, 
Germany--a guy named Otto Steinert ran that--had all the 
Bauhaus stuff, all the [Laszlo] Moholy-Nagy, all of the 
dada photographs that he had collected. Those were being 
shown. Books were being put out not so much about the 
current European photography, because at that point it 
wasn't being taught in the schools like it was here. It 
wasn't being collected as it was here. The history of 
European photography is very rich in terms of not only the 
reportage kinds of situations that developed — The photo- 
journalism in Europe was very highly developed, but the 
art thing was not. But the history was. And of course, 
that all changed, too. 

LEHMER: Were you in any exhibitions by the historians who 
felt that you were a good example? 

HEINECKEN: Not at that date, no. I did go when I was in 
Europe to visit this guy. Otto Steinert, and spent three 
days there with him looking at all the material that he 
had. It was mostly from dada and surrealism and Bauhaus 
stuff, which was very interesting to see. I never would 
have seen that in the United States. It wasn't here. 

Then in 1970 is Photography into Sculpture, which 
came from the Museum of Modern Art, curated by Peter 
Bunnell. That obviously makes another distinction, which 


is that it's three-dimensional or it's in space. It's not 
a flat print like we're accustomed to. That also 
traveled, I think, to four or five different sites. There 
was no catalog for it, which was unfortunate, because it 
was — 

LEHMER: What work of yours was in that? The blocks? 
HEINECKEN: The blocks and kinds of stacks of things. I 
had pieces that were three-dimensional which were made out 
of transparencies that you looked through to other- - 
LEHMER: Oh, right. 
HEINECKEN: Things like that. 

LEHMER: They were like kodaliths or something? 
HEINECKEN: I can't remember. There were four or five 
pieces in there. The interesting thing about it was that 
he went all over the country for a year and a half looking 
at stuff and getting this idea pinned down. When he got 
through it, I think probably 70 percent of the people 
involved in it were young people, and they were from the 
West Coast. A lot of them were from UCLA, which was 

LEHMER: Can you think of any names? I mean, I'm sure 
there's somebody who's going to be overlooked. 
HEINECKEN: Yeah, Jerry McMillan was in it. Ellen Brooks 
had a kind of environmental piece. Darryl [Curran] , I 
think, was in it. I can't think of this guy's name — 


LEHMER: Jerry McMillan, did he do the sculptures that 

looked like they were brown bags? 

HEINECKEN: Yeah, brown bags, and then other material 

which actually used photographs etched in metal which were 

three-dimensional coils and things like that. 

He was very instrumental . He was very inventive and a big 

part of that scene in Los Angeles. There were many more 

artists involved that I can't think of. At any rate, UCLA 

was very well represented. [tape recorder off] 

Robert Brown was another guy. He was in Los Angeles 
and San Francisco, sort of back and forth. He was one of 
the first people to do a piece in an environmental sense, 
that is to say a room in an existing situation. He had 
all kinds of stuff in there. 

Peter and I always regretted very much that they 
didn't have money to do a catalog of this work, because 
they got seen a lot. As you know, a catalog is seen by 
more people, and it helps you actually establish 
something. The show was reviewed in a lot of places in 
magazine articles and things like that, but there was no 
catalog. And no slide set, I remember. I think he was 
going to make a slide set of everything and couldn't get 
the money to do that either. 
LEHMER: Does he have slides of that show, I wonder? 


HEINECKEN: Oh, I'm sure he does, yeah. 

LEHMER: It would be nice to get them dup[licat]ed now. 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. But, see, now if we wanted to find out 

who was in the show we can't. We'd just have to start 

guessing at it, which is-- 

LEHMER: Hopefully he'd have a record of that, though. 

Well, there would be Peter [Bunnell] to connect to that. 

That sounds like an important-- 

HEINECKEN: Oh, yeah. It was very-- This guy Bob Brown, 

as I said, I think as far as I can see started the idea of 

what we think of now as installation work. Ellen Brooks 

also had this kind of a room of these things. I think the 

piece I did of the television and the chair in this room — 

No, I guess that was later. I can't date that exactly. 

LEHMER: That's right, I remember that. I saw that in a 

faculty exhibition at the Wight [Art] Gallery. It had 

come down from Seattle. 

HEINECKEN: No, that's a different room. 

LEHMER: Oh, okay. 

HEINECKEN: That was also an installation, but this was a 

room which I did at, I guess, the Pasadena Art Museum. It 

had a television set with a transparency inside of it of 

this nude figure, so that whatever was on television 

simply became the interior of that figure. There was a 

magazine that you were supposed to look at and a mask that 


you were supposed to put on and a chair with plastic 
flowers all in this five- [foot] -by- seven- foot room. 
LEHMER: All right. I have a question to interject at 
this point. You were pushing the boundaries in various 
directions away from the traditional with your work. My 
first question is, why did you feel the need to move 
beyond the traditional, straight photograph? 
HEINECKEN: Well, first of all, I think I was not trained 
in it. I mean, I was teaching it, and I knew enough about 
it to make distinctions and judgments, but it was never 
anything that I was involved in directly. So there would 
be no reason for me to not follow whatever intuitive 
decisions would be made about the medium and how I would 
use it. 

LEHMER: Which was to build- - 

HEINECKEN: Well, it was to manipulate it, including 
three-dimensional things, including scale, including 
relationships from unit to unit, and superimposition, and 
negative images. All of these things are outside, so to 
speak, of the tradition, of the history, and of the 
current practice at that time. But it's not like sitting 
down and saying, "Well, I'm going to do this. This is my 
idea." It sort of evolves. 

The way I got into it originally, which I think we 
discussed, is I was interested to be able to incorporate 


photographic images into printmaking processes- -etching, 
lithography, whatever- -which at that time was not being 
done very much. [Robert] Rauschenberg was the only person 
I knew who had gone to lithography and silkscreening, and 
[Andy] Warhol to some extent. For myself, after a certain 
period, it was to deny the small scale, deny the camera 
per se, and go to raw material taken from other sources, 
magazines, or whatever, to deal more or less with 
superimposition, with negative images, with manipulated 
images as opposed to a conventional photograph. 
LEHMER: Now, one thing that you did-- 

HEINECKEN: And that spirit, as we've discussed, began to 
work not only in the undergraduate courses that I taught, 
because I would always encourage some other approach to 
it, but in the graduate program at UCLA, which became a 
place where you could go to study if you were interested 
in that kind of extension. I forgot the question. Did I 
answer it? 

LEHMER: Yeah. To extend that, one of the first images in 
this book of yours iHeinecken] was Venice Riley. It's 
like a montage of information. 

HEINECKEN: Well, it's actually made from one photograph, 
but it's been transferred to-- It's made as an etching, so 
it drops out most of the intermediate tones and isolates 
the figure and so on into basically two values with some 



LEHMER: Okay, so it's a manipulation. 

HEINECKEN: I must have made the photograph from — Maybe I 
copied it or something, I don't know. It starts out as a 
conventional picture, but that's not what was shown. It 
was the etchings. 
LEHMER: Right. 

HEINECKEN: I made large ones. I had one here last week 
about four [feet] by three feet or something like that. 
Scale has always been one of the things that-- You know, 
you always think of the eight [inch] by ten [inch] and you 
always think of it as flat. We changed that. We always 
thought of it as-- The ideal would be if the value or the-- 
what ' s the Ansel Adams thing?--zone system. All these 
tones had to be represented. We rejected that. 
LEHMER: Anytime somebody put a rule down, you were-- 
HEINECKEN: I'll go back to my first answer, which is that 
I wasn't trained in all these things, so I wouldn't know 
the zone system today from anything. I wouldn't know what 
to do. That's why I use you. [laughs] [tape recorder 
off] It's not that I don't want to do it or I don't have 
time to do it. I don't know how to do it, and I don't 
want to learn how to do it. It's the same with the 
computer. I don't want to learn how to do the computer. 
It would take me too long. It's too much work. 


I think what interested me about the photograms is 
that whenever you photograph something normally, you 
always reduce the scale tremendously. You reduce a 
landscape down to eight [inches] by ten [inches] . Or even 
if it's a bigger print, you're changing the scale 
tremendously. I got caught up somehow in the idea that 
the scale should always be what it is. So the photograms 
of the magazine pages, the TV dinners--! don't know what 
else--are based on the premise that it's not going to be 
reduced. It's going to be reproduced photographically 
somehow but not reduced. So the photogram is ideal for 
that, because whatever the size is, that's the size you 

LEHMER: Right. I want you to explain one of the first 
works after the blocks, which was at the Sheldon [Art 
Museum] . There is a body of work that probably to this 
day is very close to me for various reasons, and that is 
Are you Rea. How did you conceive of that? How did that 
come about? 

HEINECKEN: I'm trying to think a moment here. This 
begins, I think, in 1964 and runs through 1967 or 
something like that. I don't know how I got started on 
that, actually. 

LEHMER: Well, one thing I think of is that you read a 
lot. I would imagine that you were always looking at 


magazines, and any time you lift the page of a magazine 
you're given a clue as to what's on the next page if the 
light shines through. 

HEINECKEN: Yeah, well, you know it's there intellectually 
or whatever. 

LEHMER: I was wondering if there was that certain image 
that you saw by accident that was-- 

HEINECKEN: The only thing I remember-- And I remember it 
because I've used this to answer the question. It's not 
like "This is why I started it, this is what I saw, " but 
two events were important in this. One, the real thing 
that I remember was seeing this Kurt Schwitters collage at 
some exhibition, I think at UCLA, where he had done a 
collage of scraps of papers and whatever little, tiny, 
beautiful things. And Joseph Cornell also. But in the 
Schwitters thing, I'm looking at it, and it has a theater 
ticket--like a ticket stub you would get--as part of the 
collage, but whatever glue he used to put that down with, 
you saw the backside of the thing. It was typography 
also, but you couldn't quite see it, because it wasn't 
transparent. The glue, as you know, just makes that paper 
more soluble. So I saw it as a very interesting kind of 
thing, but obviously he didn't intend that and when he 
glued that down it wasn't transparent; it's changed as 
it's aged. It was striking to me. I wouldn't say that I 


went home and started doing that or something, but I 
remember that . 

And then this is even more romantic. In grade school 
I remember we had this art teacher- -maybe she wasn't an 
art teacher, but she was the art person- -who had us take 
at Christmas magazine pages that had Christmas trees, 
presents, and products. You soaked them in hot paraffin, 
which then dried. I remember the classroom had these 
kinds of windows at the top of it next to the ceiling all 
around the room. We placed all these things in the 
windows so that you could see the front and the back of 
the page. Her rap on it was--this was '35 or later than 
that — the commercialization of Christmas. She was 
teaching us, not only with this project, that Christmas 
has been commercialized and the religion has gone out of 
it. I remembered that but not until later when I was 
doing it. So neither of those instances are anything more 
than memories of events that, who knows, might still have 
been in my mind. 

But the other reason that this was important, from 
1964 through 1967 I went to Europe for a year. Also I had 
been teaching in other places for one of those years, so 
I'm traveling a lot. The magazine page, especially when I 
got to Europe, you just hold it up to the light and you 
see if it's interesting or not. If it is, you keep it, 


and if not, you don't. I was proofing them all on studio 
proof paper, for which you don't need chemistry or fixing 
or anything, as you know. You could do that in a hotel 
room or wherever you are. It's just a simple thing. 

Also at that point I began to do transfer pictures 
where by rubbing off pigments and solvents you can 
transfer the picture into a collage. I did all of that 
during that same time period. I remember in Europe we 
would be in this or that place for a week or two, and I 
could stop and do those pictures without any darkroom or 
studio or whatever. You just need a knife and a desk. 
LEHMER: In '65 I did a piece, and I never was satisfied 
with it. It was really crude. When I saw your work-- 
Maybe that's why I liked Are You Rea, because you said so 
eloquently what I had been struggling with. I had these 
two images in my mind. My mind tended to collage things; 
I tended to blend things in my mind. But I remember the 
series of Maidenform ads — there were different ones. 
HEINECKEN: They passed for sex in that time period, 

LEHMER: Well, of course, yeah. I used one picture where 
this attractive model was lifting her blouse and looking 
down showing a peekaboo of her bra. Then the other 
picture I used I pasted on the back of a mobile, which was 
a picture of President [Lyndon B.] Johnson pulling up his 


shirt showing his operation scar. I was never satisfied 
with that being a mobile that kind of spun. 
HEINECKEN: See, I'm thinking super imposition per se 
cannot exist except in your mind outside of the medium of 
film and photography. The conventional thinking about 
this would be that you don't superimpose things because 
that ' s not what ' s real . But it ' s the only medium in which 
you can do it, because the matrix is transparent, as is 
film. You can't do it in video, for instance. It's a 
property that is based on the materials that are used to 
make the picture. That interests me very much, because if 
it's a property that's in the materials that you're using, 
then you have to use it. You don't just print from it, 
you put layers of it together. 

The Are You Rea thing, I think, is still the most 
ambitious and fulfilled idea that I've ever had. I mean, 
it's a very precise way of doing something. It's 
sequenced in a way which is very interesting. I had the 
sense that I invented it, and I think I did. This is not 
something that other people haven't done, but-- I remember 
when I first met Arthur Siegel, who was a Bauhaus guy. He 
was very interested in this work, but then he pointed out 
to me that he had done that in 19-something-or-other. I 
said, "Well, that's really interesting"-- I became good 
friends with him--"that's really interesting, Arthur. But 


how many did you make?" And he said, "Two." I said, 
"Well, I'm making thousands of these things and getting it 
down to twenty-five." And he laughed. 

Then also [Edmund] Teske did a piece once that had-- 
it's one of his really interesting pictures--a postcard, 
on the back of which is a picture of-- Not a postcard. 
It's a photograph, I think, of his mother, and on the back 
of it something was written. He made a photogram of that. 
But that's the only one that he made. That probably 
predates when I did this work, but I didn't know that at 
the time. So anyway, that's a very important piece for 
all these reasons. 

And also the idea of making a portfolio out of — It 
was the first portfolio that I made. So it was no longer 
one picture or an edition of five; I printed five hundred 
of these things. It was a distribution idea as well as an 
expressive idea. 

LEHMER: If I remember correctly, the portfolio was also 
something affordable. It was something that Kathy 
[Kathleen Lehmer] gave me as a gift. 

HEINECKEN: I think it cost $10 or something originally. 
LEHMER: It was our first original work of art purchase as 
a couple. She surprised me with it. It was a real 
knockout surprise, because it was something that I felt 
was very personally important to me. And of course, we 


were newlyweds and poverty-stricken. It was a very valued 
piece of material that I liked because it was not only a 
great idea and I could relate to it personally--maybe a 
lot of people could, because everybody who's flipped a 
page of a magazine has a hint of what you executed- -but it 
was accessible. Your ideas were accessible. 
HEINECKEN: The particular super impositions that are 
involved-- I mean, maybe one out of the five hundred pages 
that you look at is one that will do what you want it to 
do. So there's a lot of work involved in this, which 
doesn't show up necessarily in the twenty-five pictures 
that are there finally. 

LEHMER: That brings me to a question of-- 
HEINECKEN: In the basement there are two boxes with all 
of those pages which are not assembled. I printed five 
hundred, but I didn't make five hundred. I probably made 
a hundred. So I think one of the things I'm going to do 
when I do this retrospective is I'm going to hire someone 
to make all of those and either give them away or try to 
sell them as mementos for the exhibition. It takes an 
hour to make the cover and fold — 

Another portfolio I did, which I'll mention now 
because I'll forget it, was called Just Good Eats for U 
Diner, which had photograms of food in it. The first one 
of the edition — I found this in my records later — was 


bought by Joy [Joyce Neimanas] at some SPE meeting for 
$38. So that was interesting that she was the first one 
who bought it. 

There's a very interesting-- In the Recto/Verso 
portfolio which you have-- 
LEHMER: Which is the late eighties. 

HEINECKEN: Yeah, '88, I think. Alex [Sweetman] wrote an 
introduction to go in with the Recto/Verso portfolio. 
It's a very good text, if you want to look at it, about 
Are you Rea, because he just describes how I showed up at 
the Center for the Eye workshop in Aspen, Colorado, with 
this material when he was a student and how struck he was 
with it, how he had never seen anything like that. He 
goes into some depth. 

LEHMER: You have to make choices. I'm sure part of it is 
formal, that the two images are superimposed without the 
information of one image being destroyed by the 
information of the other image, so that they complement 
each other or blend properly. Beyond that, I found the 
subject matter was always striking. It gets back to some 
of the things that I think about with your work. Some of 
the strongest things that I relate to is your targeting 
cultural values similar to Lenny Bruce or George Carlin 
and their observations and pinpointing the hypocrisies or 
the inconsistencies of our value system, our culture. I 


question whether some of those roots of yours are from 
what we've talked about very early in this interview, 
which is your parents, your grandparents- -the quest for 
the Lutheran ministry and the teachings of ethics or 
values based in a religion. I'm wondering if some of that 
intensity has been carried over, because that's an 
important part of your life that can't be ignored. I 
guess I wasn't surprised a few years ago when I learned of 
your strong Lutheran background- -not that it would be 
formally or physically related, but there is an ethic that 
you're targeting in the work. I think Are You Rea-- I can 
think of one in a later series of silkscreens in rime 
magazine where there's this South Vietnamese solder 
holding two heads of Viet Cong. Silkscreen over — 
HEINECKEN: It's actually just offset lithography, not 
LEHMER: Litho over — 
HEINECKEN: A magazine page. 

LEHMER: A magazine page. But you chose certain 
pages because there was certain information that you felt 
was contradictory-- I mean, can you tell us what attracted 
you in Are You Rea and in a lot of the subject matter that 
you have produced? What did you find intriguing? 
HEINECKEN: Well, without going into it a lot, there's a 
process involved here when you look at a magazine page. 


You put it in the window and look at it or put it on a 
light table and see, I think as you suggested, whether 
it's just visually-- I mean, do they erase each other? If 
nothing happens, you discard it. It's a very long, drawn- 
out process, so that what I would call a visual gestalt 
happens. Gestalt means, I think, the whole is greater 
than the sum of its parts, something like that, in 
psychology. But visual gestalt then would mean something 
that by being superimposed randomly with something is a 
gestalt phenomenon. It's not just A and B together, it's 
now C as a result of that. So then if it looks like 
there's a gestalt in my mind, whatever that is, I'll put 
it aside or I'll print it later. But the real work — 


MAY 11, 1996 

LEHMER: Okay. So you've put it aside-- 

HEINECKEN: Right. So the real work then becomes what to 
do with, let's say, fifteen hundred so-called interesting- 
looking pictures in terms of the gestalt. I know it's 
going to be a portfolio with roughly twenty-five pictures. 
Let's say thirty pictures; it can't be more than that 
because it's just too bulky. So the real work is then 
getting it down from that huge number to those which seem 
to be absolutely the most poignant in terms of culture, 
where the disparity between the front and back is visible 
in the gestalt somehow so that the text that might be on 
one side is going to describe something that isn't there. 
Singularly it ' s there in superimposition with something 
else. That work takes a long time to get it down to a 
reasonable number. 

I think- -which was fortunate for me- -when I had maybe 
one hundred of these laid out I began to see a pattern 
that I could describe — for whatever reasons these things 
showed up--which I designated to be political. That is to 
say it had not just social but some political ideas there. 
Another grouping showed up which was of women and 
children. Another one was what I call "marriage 


triangles," where there's a couple, a man and woman, but 
with another single woman or man, so that there's three 
people involved in this thing. Another one had to do with 
cosmetics, because a lot of these things actually come 
from not fashion magazines but women's magazines, where 
women obviously are depicted more in them. Out of that 
came something which certainly wasn't lesbianism, because 
that's not implied necessarily, but it is of two women, 
one on the front and one on the back, which are 
superimposed in what I would consider to be an exotic or 
erotic or sexual kind of position. 

The point is, in discovering that there are five, 
six, seven groupings in here which are all interesting 
pictures, that's finally the crux of how it's put 
together, because it's sequenced in such a way where you 
look at three or four pictures in a row. I don't identify 
them this way, but you'll see that they're all a woman and 
a woman for three pictures . Then suddenly it ' s got text 
in it; it's about rioting or something. If you're really 
smart you can sense the sequencing of the twenty- five 
pictures as being the content. It's not the pictures, but 
the order in which they're being revealed to you in terms 
of social phenomena. Now, I don't think very many people 
would get to that point. But it allowed me a system by 
which I can eliminate other things and leave in certain 


things which are pertinent to this sequencing or these 
groupings . 

I didn't — and this was a mistake — number the pages, 
because as soon as someone owns this thing, if it gets out 
of order then you don't have those groupings so-- They're 
in there, obviously, but they're not in sequence to show 
you the three or four. So that was a mistake. 
LEHMER: Can you sequence them now? I mean personally? 
HEINECKEN: Oh, yeah, sure, more or less. I have one 
somewhere which is all beat up which tells me how to do 

LEHMER: I find a relationship between the super- 
impositions. It's almost something that you obseirve. 
It's a very photographic thing in a sense. It's where I 
find your ideas dovetailing with a straight photographer, 
because it's still something that's observed that exists. 
HEINECKEN: Yeah. You could make the picture by 
photographing both sides of it and putting them together 
photographically, but the photogram, of course, does that 

LEHMER: Yeah. But there's something about the purity of 
the discovery of something that exists. 
HEINECKEN: Oh, yeah. 

LEHMER: There's an ethic there that is really intriguing. 
It kind of helps you talk about — 


HEINECKEN: Well, see, what you suggest, which is true, is 
that if you wanted to do this same kind of project you 
could find two magazine page images on one side and put 
that with another magazine page, and you could pick them 
in such a way that they would be extremely dramatic with 
extremely easier-to-read content and more beautiful. But 
it's an endless job, and it's conventional. 
LEHMER: And you've done that with collages. 
HEINECKEN: Yeah. I'm just saying it's the realization 
that — Also, I could have made the photogram and then 
counter-printed the photogram to get it back to positive. 
Then it would look like the image, but these are all 
negative images . 

LEHMER: Why did you choose to leave them in negative 
rather than to have them positive? 

HEINECKEN: Well, I think the first thing is that's what 
happens. When you print from one thing to another, it's 
going to reverse tones. You can read what they are, but 
they're not-- I don't want them to look like them. 
They're black and white, there's no color, which-- Most of 
these are in color. 

It's interesting. When I came to do the Recto/Verso 
portfolio--I don't know when Cibachrome was introduced, 
but I had never used it, because I don't use color in that 
sense- -it occurred to me that here was an opportunity to 


do a similar project with magazine pages but in positive. 
Not because I necessarily wanted it to be positive, but 
prior to that there was no material that you could contact 
to that would be positive. It would have been — A color 
negative and a color negative, as you know, doesn't look 
very interesting, but the positives do, because you just 
see it. The pictures are much more obvious, I think, than 
in Are You Rea. They're much more similar to what you 
might think of as a magazine page, because it is in color. 
You recognize it to be fashion ads and things like that. 
But it's no less striking, I think, in its difference from 
Are you Rea- -which is thirty years or something- -and how 
violent and how sexual these things are in and of 
themselves. I don't put them into superimposition to make 
them that way; they're there. It's just nudity and 
violence. All the stuff that we're interested in is 
there . 

LEHMER: I have two questions. One, you made reference to 
the term "ready-mades. " I find a kinship between 
photograms and the ready-made idea in that they pre-exist. 
It's a really eloquent pursuit of perception and 
observation. What are some of the ready-mades that you 
can think of that influenced you off the top of your head? 
HEINECKEN: The concept of ready-mades, as [Marcel] 
Duchamp termed them, is probably one of the most important 


things to have happened in the history of Western art. 
Everybody is affected by this phenomenon that he invented. 
I don't know the full history of how that came to him, but 
I do know that I liked what he did very much, and I liked 
who he was as an individual very much. I would probably 
unconsciously fashion myself after him, because he took 
nothing seriously but everything seriously. It's a very 
wonderful frame of mind. As far as intention, what's 
important about it is that it just breaks down the whole 
idea of modernist art or art as we understand it as being 
original and being handmade and being valued that way. 
Obviously that's what he in this dada spirit was doing. 
Somehow it caught on, and now we have it. It's just 
amazing what happened there. 
LEHMER: What is the spirit of dada? 

HEINECKEN: Well, in this piece and other similar pieces, 
he's really just saying art is not art, let's say. Art is 
art when it's in the context of art. So he's saying I'll 
put this urinal or bicycle wheel in the gallery because 
that's the context for art. It's a beautiful, bizarre 
idea — which is the joke, really. His work mostly is not 
involved in it. These are the very few pieces, finally. 
What he went on to do, or what he did simultaneously, is 
much more interesting in the sense that it is handmade. 
Taking things like the large glass and leaving it out for 


a period of time to let whatever happens to it happen is a 
ready-made concept. But it's not something where you're 
taking a manufactured item and seeing something in it 
that's like art and putting it in a gallery. It's a 
concept that is very important to me, but I don't hold 
strictly to that. I'm interested in that you see 
something and you already know what it is, but it's been 
transformed in some way. It's not by the context of a 
gallery or an exhibition but by super imposition, making it 
negative, or altering it in some way. But you still know 
that it's something which hasn't been invented by me. 
It's something that they could have found and could go and 
do if they wanted. Anybody could do this. It's just not 
difficult to do. But why would you do it? That's the 

LEHMER: Well, yeah. It's "Why would you do it?" It's 
not something that is a finely honed skill or craft that 
you have spent years training yourself to do so that your 
hand has unique craft ability. But not only is it 
super imposition, which is another tool, it's the choices 
that you've made that define you or Duchamp, that define 
the artist. 

HEINECKEN: Well, see, I don't know if this is the right 
point to say it, but in the case of using magazine pages 
or magazines per se, there's text involved in these 


things. Basically it's an advertising device, just like 
television. I mean, we get to see television, but we 
don't get to see it without the advertising. Anytime that 
you use television, let's say, or printed material, people 
are aware of the fact that the advertising is paying for 
it. You're not going to get one without the other in a 
conventional cultural situation. The material is already 
sorted out for you in the sense that if you use a magazine 
or television, you know what it is. You haven't seen the 
page superimposed, but it's a simple idea. 
LEHMER: I always had this thought in my mind when I 
looked at your work, how many art directors you affected, 
if any. I tend to want to say to myself that their 
awareness was heightened by the fact that we have to be 
careful as to where we place our ads, so that you don't 
flip the page from a holocaust situation to a perfume ad. 
HEINECKEN: There are eight zillion people on the planet, 
and one person has seen this possibility, so I don't think 
they're worried too much. It's a job, and it's a very-- 
Well, art directors-- I don't know the distinctions here, 
but the stuff that goes into magazines are very high- 
quality images and ideas. Well, not ideas. They're just 
stupid ideas, but they're very attractive, as they are on 
the television commercials. And the reason that you can 
use those things without a doubt of having people 


understand what it is is the key to it. I mean, that's 
what's interesting to me. 

Or a TV dinner. Those were made in the seventies or 
earlier. Everybody understands what a TV dinner is 
because you've eaten them all the time. Now you ask a 
kid, "TV dinner?" and they don't know the term. They know 
that there's a frozen meal, but it's not a "TV dinner." 
What's good is you don't have to cook dinner; you heat 
this thing up and you go watch television. That's why 
it's called "TV dinner." 

LEHMER: I don't know why I make the association, but 
whenever I see your TV Dinner series I think of a movie 
that was in that same era, which was Steve McQueen in 
Bullitt. There he is, getting off work. It's mid-morning 
or something like that. It's early. He's been up all 
night long chasing people all over San Francisco. He goes 
into this corner grocery store, goes to the freezer case, 
looks, and then starts grabbing-- 
HEINECKEN: I remember that, yeah. 

LEHMER: --without much choice every TV dinner in a row. 
He's taking a week's worth of food up to his apartment. 
HEINECKEN: Well, during this time period--not that it's 
important--my wife then, Janet [Storey], was working a 
three [o'clock] to eleven [o'clock] shift always. I was 
responsible for dinner, so I think the kids and I probably 


ate a couple of hundred thousand of these things, 
[laughs] So it's not something that was rare. But we 
didn't watch TV with it. That was it. Bang, a TV dinner. 
LEHMER: So it's something that obviously you're familiar 
with, which leads me to the next-- I'll make a big quantxim 
leap to a project you did. [tape recorder off] Another 
project that you did was a grant from Polaroid 
[Corporation] . Can you describe that? 

HEINECKEN: Yeah, but before that I was thinking about 
Duchamp. There's what I call stylistic identification, 
which means--and we may have talked about this before--you 
can look at a work of art and say, "Oh, that's by so-and- 
so" because of the way it's made. 
LEHMER: And not necessarily formally make that 

HEINECKEN: Stylistically somehow--! don't know how we 
differentiate that. But it's not just formally. All of 
the factors somehow clue you to who made it. This is a 
very important device or phenomenon in contemporary art 
merchandising. It's so that you want to own an Ed 
[Edward] Ruscha painting or whoever it is because of the 
individual making it. I don't know whether I rejected 
that necessarily outright, but it's just not an 
interesting thing for me to sit down and make yet another 
set of Are You Rea things. Although I could do that, and 


people would find it interesting if there were limited 
quantities available. You can build a stylistic 
identification around your work for purposes of 
merchandising. It's clear. I'm not saying it's a bad 
thing. If you're going to try to make a living as an 
artist in this culture, you almost have to do that. 
LEHMER: Art as commodity. 

HEINECKEN: Well, and as stylistically identified. What I 
would rather have happen, and I think it does happen to 
some extent even now, would be that you would go into 
someplace, and you would see something on the wall. You 
wouldn't know anything about it, but you would say, 
"Heinecken made that." You'd know it, because no one else 
would make it. No one else would have that sense of it. 
That's not stylistic identification but conceptual. 
Duchamp had this, too. You don't have to know it's his 
work by virtue of stylistic similarities. You know that 
it's--I think in his case-- just that utterly no one else 
would do it. So it's got to be maybe this guy or that 
guy. That's a much more important phenomenon for me to 
strive for rather than looking at it and knowing by its 
appearance who made it. I'm not disinterested in having 
people know that I made these things, but I'm not going at 
it the easiest way to do it. I would be bored doing that. 
I ' m not suggesting that other artists are not bored or are 


bored. That's fine. 

LEHMER: No, it's just that it's a deeper commitment — 
HEINECKEN: In photography I think it's even more 
interesting. In conventional photography, the most 
prominent stylistic identification that's possible is 
subject matter or location. It's like the window idea. 
It's that a nude figure immediately can be-- Or let's say 
it's a street scene. You immediately begin to think of a 
whole set of people--Robert Frank, [Garry] Winogrand, 
[Lee] Friedlander--who are only distinguishable from one 
another by connoisseurs, really. They're not identifiable 
to individuals by style, because the style is pretty much 
constant: its subject. In Robert Frank's case it's the 
whole emotional set of the thing. I guess my point was in 
conventional photography you wouldn't-- You can always 
identify a [Robert] Mapplethorpe photograph because nobody 
else is doing it, and they're stylistically similar. 
They're posed photographs and so on. Or any of the people 
that we could mention, I don't know. Cindy Sherman 
doesn't do the same thing all the time, but you know it's 
her. It's that mind. You can see it. She's interesting 
that way. She doesn't seem to be just following some road 

LEHMER: Sometimes I think museums can provide an 
interesting service. I wouldn't have drawn the parallel 


between Edward Weston's work and Mapplethorpe ' s work, but 
they did. Maybe it's more on a formal level, because they 
actually had pieces right next to each other, and you 
could say, "Wow." It was hard to tell who did which. You 
could see that there was a great influence. I think part 
of that is because there is an age, cultural, and 
conceptual difference between the two, a vast difference. 
HEINECKEN: Yeah, but I think I would say that they are 
formal. They're beautiful pictures. They're rich 
pictures . I don ' t know which Weston photographs were 
placed with which Mapplethorpes, but I would imagine that 
the most unique pairing would be in formal similarities. 
LEHMER: Yeah. They were physically, formally similar in 
many cases to the point where I did not realize how 
important Weston must have been to Mapplethorpe. It was 
just too close. 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. I always thought Mapplethorpe- -I 
haven't seen a lot of it- -was very interesting but very 
limited in-- I mean, the flower pictures and stuff are 
very sexual or sensual pictures, but that's different than 
somebody with a fist up somebody's ass, which is done as 
if it were a fashion photograph. It's either very clever 
or just bullshit, I think. I don't know which it is. 
Obviously it's an interesting thing to look at or an 
interesting thing to understand. But it gives you — and 


this is what troubles me about it- -a false sense of 
understanding of a subculture such as that kind of 
homosexuality or whatever. It doesn't tell you anything 
about that. I mean, [Charles] Gatewood and some of those 
people, this is the real stuff. Now, I'm not saying-- And 
there's no attempt to make it beautiful. It's like a 
documentary of a subculture. That's more important than 
another beautiful picture a la Weston of something that's 
aberrant in some sense. That's not the right word, but-- 
LEHMER: There is a frustration that I have where the 
appeal of one's work is based on the exotic subject matter 
and the formal beauty with which it's been executed. I 
can think of different people. For instance, Cathy 
[Catherine] Opie's work, if you're familiar with her work. 
The one thing that bothers me about that work is that I 
don't feel revelation. I don't feel that I understand a 
culture. And yet I feel that one of the strongest points 
about Danny Lyon's The Bikeriders, as an example, is that 
I feel that he has allowed me into a culture that I would 
not have access to. However, there's an exoticness or a 
hint of that in Cathy Opie's work or Mapplethorpe' s work, 
but I don't really feel that I'm allowed in, where you 
might begin to feel that in Nan Goldin's work or — 
HEINECKEN: Yeah. That's the difference there. I mean. 
Nan Goldin is happening. They're posing sometimes, but 


you do get a sense of the culture or subculture or an age 
of the people. It's quite wonderful, I think. See, the 
side of photography which is really bad is that you can — 
not trying to fool someone--take something that exists, 
recreate it for the camera, and it's never going to be the 
same. You're not witnessing it, but you're also not 
witnessing it as it's happening. It's now in the studio, 
big camera, lights, twenty people, assistants, whatever. 
LEHMER: Irving Penn is the father of that. Well, maybe 
not the father but-- 

HEINECKEN: Well, yeah, but Irving Penn is different-- I 
would say [Richard] Avedon is a better example of — That 
thing about Western people or whatever that was was just 
garbage . 

LEHMER: He's taking the exotic and romanticizing it in 
this highly aestheticized, controlled environment of the 

HEINECKEN: Anytime a person involved knows they're being 
photographed they're going to present themselves in some 
way that's different. Everybody does it. I mean, we know 
it. People who don't do that are actors. They have to 
learn how not to — You know, they're doing something that 
is not part of being photographed, and somehow they have 
to get into that mind-set. They know they're being 
photographed, but it's not like they're looking at the 


camera or screwing it up. Or at least what we finally see 
is edited down or whatever that is. 
LEHMER: Well, let me back up. 

HEINECKEN: The property of a photograph that is exactly 
what doesn't interest me is the witness idea. I'm not 
even interested in anything that the camera can do. The 
camera is only a small part of what photography really is 
for me. The process is important. 

LEHMER: Well, that brings me back to something. Probably 
one of the most important experiences in my education was 
working--again, I think I've said this before--with John 
Collier, where we actually dealt with the sequencing and 
editing of images. An image by itself can be 
misinterpreted, but I think that when you begin to 
sequence things -- 

HEINECKEN: Yeah, but there you have a sociocultural 
anthropologist who happens to know about photography and 
uses it, but he's looking at something quite different for 
quite different reasons than most people would be. 
LEHMER: Well, he's not necessarily laying that on the 
student . 

HEINECKEN: No, no. But I mean the reason that he's there 
teaching students is not because of any other reason 
except that he's an expert in this field. Or at least his 
judgments are expert judgments relative to how to do the 


photograph, how to put it together, and what its value is 
supposed to be as honestly and as directly as possible, as 
opposed to Cathy Opie. 

LEHMER: Well, I think that when you put up a series of 
images he's saying you'd better be damn careful as to how 
you put them up. Because when you put a second image up, 
it's beginning to germinate with the first one. That 
sequence, depending on order, will have a completely 
different meaning, story, or impact. He would just say 
you'd better be damn careful about that and be aware of 
the fact that sequence is a very powerful tool. It's like 
a gun, you know; you'd better know where you're pointing 
the damn thing or you'll get hurt. 

HEINECKEN: Well, that's- -I think we talked about this 
before--why I feel it's so interesting to relate or 
important to understand the relationship between 
photography sequencing and language. It's the sequencing 
which makes it understandable and poetic at the same time-- 
if it wants to be poetic. 

I was just thinking, I made a picture called 
DocLzmentary Photogram, which is an interesting title. 
It's contradictory, because it can't be a documentary 
photogram. I think they're of food things or something 
like that. 

The Polaroid thing-- 


LEHMER: Yeah, let's back up to the Polaroid thing. You 
received an offer from Polaroid to come out and use this 
massive twenty- [inch] -by-twenty- four- [inch] -size print 
film to create images. What subject matter did you 
choose? Why don't you explain that. 

HEINECKEN: Well, I'm trying to think what was the first — 
I did it maybe three or four times. 

LEHMER: Oh, the ones I'm thinking of are of the food. 
HEINECKEN: Okay, that would have been one of the later 
ones. Let's start with that. What was interesting there 
is that the camera makes one color positive print. It's 
like a huge SX-70, basically. You can make another one, 
but you can't print from it, because it's not a negative 
that you can use or a transparency of any kind. There's 
no matrix for it. It's the stuff and then the picture. 
So that interested me in the sense that I wanted to make 
color photograms-- What's the date of this in relation to 
Cibachrome, Recto/Versol It must have been before that. 
The Polaroid thing predates that idea. What's involved is 
very interesting, because the camera is also the 
processing device of this. In other words, when you pull 
the paper down out of it, the camera stays there. You 
photograph with it, the paper goes back up into the 
machine and is processed in the machine. It's all in this 
unit--some magic. I don't know how this happens. 


So to make a photogram of the food, it had to be 
figured out how to take the food, bring the paper down out 
of the thing onto the flat surface, and arrange the food 
on that paper. Later we put down Plexiglas so that it-- 
But the ones without the Plexiglas are more interesting, 
because you've got the juices on there and the staining, 
and the stuff sticks to the paper and all of that. Then 
you remove the food, run the paper back up into the 
camera, and process it, which takes only a few minutes or 
something. Then you can see exactly what you've got. You 
can rearrange it, you can change the exposure-- Because 
you have no idea what the exposure should be because of 
the density of the food. Who knows? So anyway, what this 
produces is a positive color but a transparent image. 
It's hard to describe. Light is running through it, so 
it's showing the silhouette of the food. It makes the 
background all white so that there's no depth to it at 
all. It shows you the interior and the basic color of the 
food. So it was a very interesting use of the camera. 

Actually, by the time that I did this work I had used 
the camera at least twice before, I think, in the Polaroid 
situation. At this point they began lending the camera 
out to different institutions, one of which was the School 
of [the Museum of] Fine Arts, Boston, where I did these 
pictures. There was no Polaroid guy there — Or there was. 


The guy's name was John Reuter, I think. He doesn't care 
what you do as long as you don't screw up the machine. 
But if you went to Polaroid with this idea, no way were 
they going to have food anywhere near this camera. The 
technicians would have had to do it. So it was relaxed 
enough that we could do experiments with it without 
Polaroid knowing what was going on. 

What's interesting about this is the first day, I 
think, I just did meals--not meals really, but just food 
laid out to see what it looks like. Some of those are 
interesting. But at some point--! think I was there three 
days--I came up with the idea of doing-- You know, it's 
twenty-four inches, so it's big enough that you can use a 
lot of food. I decided to do two pieces of it one meal on 
the left side of the paper and then another meal on the 
right, so that those two things would be in contrast to 
one another. One picture is made of food taken from this 
truck that comes around every day for the students, like a 
catering truck. It's just pre-made sandwiches and all of 
that. One side of it is made with that stuff. And then 
the other side is made from meals that I got from the 
museum cafeteria, which is a high-class kind of place 
where you get pasta primavera and all kinds of fine 
desserts. I put those on the other side of it on the same 
day during the same lunch period. Then there's a text 


below that explains what the foods are--this is written on 
the print later. It explains that this comes from the 
Boston museum school lunch wagon, and this comes from the 
Boston museum patron's cafeteria. They're called 
Iconographic Art Lunches. 

LEHMER: Yeah. Of course, the students were on the left 
and the patrons were on the right. [laughs] 
HEINECKEN: Well, probably. I don't know. So it's not 
just getting through the technical problems of how to use 
the Polaroid to make this thing, but also then to work 
through it long enough to realize that the meals 
themselves are not as interesting as the juxtaposition of 
the student artists- -whose school happens to be associated 
with the museum which is across the street--with the 
patrons and what they eat. There's not only a visual 
dichotomy because the fettucine is beautiful and the 
hamburger is not so much, but the idea is that the 
students are in the same context as the collectors but 
worlds apart in a sense. Those are interesting pictures, 
I think, and very technically complicated to do or to 
figure out. But once you know how to do it, it's okay. 

Prior to that, I went, I think the first time I went 
to Boston, to Polaroid's labs to do this stuff. I wanted 
to do pictures from television tapes that I had made of 
these newswomen and superimpose them and things like that. 


The same day--I think they had three cameras-- [Andy] 
Warhol was there doing something, and some scientific team 
was also in there doing something. There were separate 
studios. The point I'm making is that I've got three 
white-coat guys with me; one of them is running the 
camera, the others are technicians. I explained what I 
wanted to do . I don ' t know what the other people were 
doing, Warhol and all. 

So I said, "We're going to photograph this television 
set." We needed a certain shutter speed to stop the 
thing, or maybe we froze it on the television, I don't 

But anyway, the guy said, "We can't do these pictures." 

And I said, "Why not?" 

He said, "Well, the camera is vertical format and the 
pictures are horizontal format," which means you'd have to 
use only part of the paper or something like that. 

I told him I wanted just to fill the whole thing with 
this television image. I saw the solution, but I said, 
"Now, you guys think about this. How can we do this?" I 
already knew. I'd figured it out by seeing the problem. 

"It can't be done," they said. 

I said, "Well, you can't turn the camera? It doesn't 

He said, "No, absolutely not." 


I said, "Well, you can't pick up the whole camera?" 

By that time they're saying "Maybe you're not 
appropriate for this. Maybe you're being sassy." 

I said, "Turn that television set on its side." This 
is a Ph.D. guy, you know. 

He said, "Well, I don't think we can do that." 

I'm saying, "If you can't turn the camera, just turn 
the television set on its side." 

And he said, "Do television sets run when they're on 
their side?" 

I thought, "These guys are just out of control." 
They didn't want to do it. They just clearly didn't want 
to do it at all. 

So finally we put the television set on its side and 
it all worked out. 

But then we had to do super impositions, which they 
had never done . They ' re not sure what the exposure should 
be if you're going to do it on top of the other one. I 
said, "Well, I don't know about this camera, but you 
usually take the basic exposure and cut it in half." 
These are technicians, right? I think he said, "I should 
just cut it in half and make two halves so we'd have the 
same--? Well, let's see. Where's the book on it?" It was 
just crazy. Finally we got that done. 

One more story about it that-- I had an SX-70, which 


is their material, and I wanted to blow that up to as big 
as it could be on their camera. It got down to, "Well, 
this is a grant that we're giving out for people to 
experiment with the camera, and you could do this with any 
camera. You just photograph with this SX-70 and you make 
a big picture." I said, "That's not the point here. I 
want to see exactly what the grain structure of that SX-70 
is. I want to see the edge of where the paper doesn't 
quite fit down onto the image. I want it to be the 
world's biggest SX-70 picture." And they went, "Well — " 
Anyway, we finally got that done. It was just a horrible 
fight between my originality and imagination and this 
strict use of that camera. I learned something there 
about technology. 

LEHMER: "I learned something about scientists," in a sense. 
HEINECKEN: Well, these weren't scientists, but they were 
highly educated technical people who don't get it. 
LEHMER: I think of scientists as people who are dealing 
with the unknown, as researchers, possibly. There are 
also scientists who are clinicians and deal only with what 
has already been-- 

HEINECKEN: Actually, a real scientist would have seen 
this immediately and agreed to it. It's an intermediate 

I don't know if we have time, but I'm going to tell 


this stoiry too, if I can think of it now. What was it? 
[tape recorder off] I learned in one of these visits how 
the forty- [inch] -by-eighty- [inch] camera came to be from 
[Dr. Edwin H.] Land, who's brilliant and has a very interes- 
ting life to go along with all of this. Polaroid is dead 
broke. Everybody's selling their stock or they're going to 
sell their stock. They're going to have to close the 
company down because-- I don't know what phase they're in 
here or why that happened to them, but it's serious stuff. 

So he's meeting with these people who-- I think they 
said, "Where are you with this forty- [ inch] -by-eighty- 
[inch] camera?" 

[Land] said, "Well, we're this far." 

And they said, "How long will it take you to get this 
thing, just a prototype, running on time?" 

Land said, "Well, maybe four months or something." 

And they said, "We're having a stockholder's meeting 
in two weeks, and you will have that camera finished." 

Land said, "Impossible." 

They said, "You guys are all going to be out of work, 
this company's going to be gone. Two weeks," or some 
short thing like that. 

So they got it done. You could make one picture one 
time, but they got it done. 

Then at the stockholder ' s meeting they bring in this 


painting from the Boston museum. I forget if it was a 
Rembrandt. Not a Rembrandt but some very well-known, 
famous painting. Very valuable. He gets them to lend him 
this painting, brings the painting over, and puts it in 
front of the stockholders. Then he brings out this forty- 
Cinch] -by-eighty- [inch] print. It's a picture that size, 
actually. He brings out this print and has everybody come 
up and look at the difference between these two things. 
Of course, you can't tell the difference. The frame is 
included in the photograph. If you touched it you would 
know the difference, but you can't-- And they said, "This 
is the future of Polaroid. It's the forty-[inch] -by- 
eighty-[inch] camera." That saved the company. 

It's a wonderful story, I think. But it was 
obviously to show the common person the value of this. 
The reason that they chose the museum and this picture was 
because Land was in the museum one day and he saw a little 
card that said, "This picture is on loan." The idea was 
to make this a one-time picture and put it on the wall 
while the real thing was on loan. To the casual observer 
it doesn't look like the three-dimensional frame, but it's 
a high-resolution picture. 


MAY 25, 1996 

LEHMER: I wanted to try to get across today some of the 
exhibitions that I thought were important and talk about 
the more recent work that might be less known because it ' s 
not published in that big book [Heinecken exhibition 
catalog]. We can go from there. And then I had some 
overall thoughts, some words that kept coming to me that 
relate to your work or relate to what people have said 
about your work. Let's see if there is some response that 
you might have, like, "Well, people have always said that, 
but I don't quite agree with that" or whatever. The first 
thing, to continue from what we were starting to do last 
week, there was a new series of work in 1978 incorporating 
written material. Let me back up before that one. I want 
to hit that, but-- History Transformed is the title of a 
group exhibition in 1975. Who was in that? 
HEINECKEN: Where was that? 

LEHMER: I want to say that that was the show — Was it 
Peter Bunnell who did that? No. 

HEINECKEN: The name is familiar, but I can't place it 
right now 

LEHMER: I wish I had that black book. [tape recorder 
off] One Eye Opened, One Eye Closed was in '76. And that 


was Three Photographers Look at the Nude: E.J. Bellocq, 
Robert Heinecken, and Les Krims. How did that come about? 
What did that show consist of? What do you remember about 

HEINECKEN: Well, it was out of the country, in Canada. 
That's always interesting. I don't know how this guy, 
whoever did it, put it together, but I'm sure it came out 
of an SPE [Society for Photographic Education] meeting — 
you know, one of those things where this guy wants to do a 
show and he ideates it. There was a small catalog, which 
is probably in the collection somewhere. Bellocq is the 
guy who photographed the prostitutes in New Orleans and 
the plates were lost for years. Then [Lee] Friedlander 
found the plates and made all the prints from them. 
LEHMER: Storyville [Portraits: Photographs from the New 
Orleans Red-Light District]? 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. Because Storyville was the district in 
New Orleans with the prostitutes. Krims would have been 
at the high point of his visibility with his work with the 
nude, which was very-- 
LEHMER: His pancake series? 

HEINECKEN: Well, it was that and even before that, not 
having to do with the nude, the Deer slayers: [A Limited 
Edition Folio] thing. I mean, he was always doing 
something that was going to upset somebody. No matter 


what he did it was wrong for somebody. 

Bellocq is not exactly documentary. I mean, these 
are real prostitutes, but he's- -I don't know that he's a 
real patron of them--inside the group somehow. He's 
photographing them really as portraits. They're not even 
sexual, necessarily, but they are kind of. And Krlms 
would be contrasted to that in the sense that these are 
also set-up situations. He's not photographing anything 
that he's not controlling, which is different than 

I think my work was seen in contrast to both of those 
things, also in which nothing comes from reality in a 
sense. I mean, the pictures are constructed from magazine 
pages or whatever else. I think it was an interesting 
idea of how do we perceive the female nude body in 
photographic art. So here's three different views of it: 
two contemporary, one historical. It's too bad we don't 
have the catalog to review that. But it was a statement 
and an interesting exhibition. 

The [John] Upton exhibition at California State 
University, Long Beach [Minor White, Robert Helnecken, 
Robert Cumming: The Photograph as Metaphor, Object, and 
Document of Concept] also plays into what we've been 
talking about off and on here, people trying to make an 
exhibition that in fact instructs people about things. So 


myself and Robert Cumming and Minor White all have three 
different approaches. This Bellocq-Krims thing is three 
different approaches, something like that. You're 
expanding what constitutes in people's minds something 
about sex, women, and nudity into categories that can be 
studied separately from that vague generalization of 
things. At that time period there were a lot of 
exhibitions and writings and things about that, because 
photography was beginning to not be a thing but a lot of 
different things. 

LEHMER: It reminds me of when I was in [Kalispell] 
Montana and I ran that art center [Hockaday Center for the 
Arts] where I tried to get a handle on where the people 
were in their ideas of what art was and could be, and I 
would try to expand that. It was a nonprofit community 
art center, so it wasn't a commercial space. It didn't 
have to sell Western art, which was so prevalent up there. 
I remember calling up John Wood and saying, "John, I've 
got a problem out here. People feel that mixed media is 
mixing oils and acrylics." 
HEINECKEN: [laughs] Which doesn't work. 
LEHMER: Right. John was very helpful, and he said he'd 
send some work out. So he came out from the Boston Museum 
[of Fine Arts], which was exciting to think of it, being 
from the Museum of Modern Art to the Boston museum to the 


[Hockaday] Center for the Arts. I actually saw on his 
r6sum6 recently all of these big ones, and then that 
little Hockaday Center. He had it. That made me feel 
good. But in one room I had his work, and then in another 
room I had the work of Andre Kertesz. It was in a sense a 
northwest Montana approach towards Mirrors and Windows or 
something. The idea was to show people the directions 
that the image can go. 

HEINECKEN: Well, we've mentioned this before, and I think 
it's worth stating again, because it's important. The 
time period here--maybe it's ten years, maybe even longer 
than that--is when these curators, the creators of 
exhibitions, are really taking on the task of education. 
Even your own show is that same idea. It's not like, 
"This is the best" or anything. It's like, "This is an 
exhibition which is intended to instruct you about" --in 
this case — "the variance between a certain subject matter 
looked at from different points of view and different time 
periods . " 

LEHMER: 'Seventy- five is an important year. We've talked 
about it on a personal level. I'm trying to think of what 
I saw that reminded me of that that I wanted to go over, 
[tape recorder off] So 1975, as we've talked about 
before, was a major turning point in your life. What I 
would like to review again is briefly what basic events 


happened. And how did it manifest itself in your personal 
work? What was '75, again? 

HEINECKEN: Well, this--which we discussed previously a 
little bit--would be the summer of '75 when Janet [Storey] 
and I decided to split up formally and I got out of the 
house. So it was obviously disruptive for everybody. I 
don't know that I could sense-- What am I trying to say 
here? The first thing that happens in something like that 
is that everything stops. There's nothing--no worrying 
about making pictures or getting this done or whatever. 
It just stops while the emotional state takes precedence 
over everything else. All of the conversations, all of 
the sorrys, and whatever have to-- You know, that takes a 
long time. So actually, I think if there were any 
exhibitions during that time period I would be surprised, 
because certainly it wouldn't be new work or anything that 
had happened during that time. It would have to be 
something from earlier. I think that extends probably for 
a whole year or something like that. In fact, a year from 
that summer would be the summer of '76, when the studio 
exploded. This is then another period of time, maybe 
another--what?--at least six months, ten months, where 
nothing happens except sort of piecing things together. 

The point that I'm getting at here is that the only 
thing that did continue through all of that was the-- I 


wouldn't call it a journal. Well, actually I'm just 
looking through a whole bunch of stuff that ' s written 
during that time period, which is all an attempt to 
externalize feelings and thoughts. How do events which 
are so important to one's personal life end up 
contributing or not or stopping or starting--? I mean, 
it's simply a period of complete confusion. The only 
thing which I'm saying is that in the writing it's all 
there. All the emotions are there. All the attempts are 
there to make a poetic structure out of that work in 
relation to the He: /She: proposition, which goes on all 
through that time period--at least the writing of it does. 
I don't know whether I've mentioned it before, but the 
He: /She: pictures are essentially verbal pictures. I mean 
there is visual stuff that illustrates it, but it doesn't 
illustrate it. It's just pictures that you can try to 
relate subjectively to whatever the writing is, which is 
also very subjective. So one point is that you don't need 
a studio to do all of that. Or even if you're trying to 
make pictures, you make SX-70 pictures, which are easy to 
do. I think it's important that no matter what happens to 
you, if you're sincere about trying to continue your 
creative life and your imagination, there are always ways 
to do that. In this case it's writing, continuing to try 
to express an emotional state through writing. I think 


anybody who would have access to this material and look at 
it would understand the state of mind that's there. I 
don't know how I got off on that. 
LEHMER: So that the work that you created — 
HEINECKEN: And then, of course at the end of this time 
period, most of the familial problems get resolved in one 
way or the other. I stopped running around so much, I met 
Joy [Joyce Neimanas], and that becomes an increasingly 
stable situation. So that's an eighteen-month period 
which is just chaotic. But still, material comes out of 
it that either was useful then as catharsis probably, or 
was used in later ways to continue the He: /She: pattern of 
making artwork. 

LEHMER: But the artwork that was manifested was strongly 
verbal . 

HEINECKEN: I don't think that photography, even though 
you might manipulate, has the capacity to be really an 
expressive art. It has to be expressed manually, 
physically. You have to see the anger, you have to see 
the pain. Poets can write about that, anybody can write 
about it. But to try to follow a pattern in the way that 
I was working visually would have been nonsense. I 
wouldn't have been in the mental state to do it. You 
don't have the space to do it. You don't have the 
materials. You don't have the willpower, whatever. But 


you can drink yourself into something and start writing 
it. That's simple. Writers do that. So it's a critical 
time period there that I'm describing, but I can't really 
put my finger on how it was critical. I guess that the 
thing that I internalized out of it was that no matter how 
chaotic or screwed-up things get, you still have a 
responsibility to try to make sense out of it if you're an 
artist. There's got to be some way that you can feed it 
back into the whole situation without actually going into 
a complete funk and stopping. 

LEHMER: At that time you in '76 lectured at the Art 
Institute of Chicago and Columbia College. Is that right? 
HEINECKEN: That's right. 

LEHMER: It was probably a good distraction to get out of 
Culver City [California] so that you weren't having to be 
reminded of that trauma. It was your first studio, and 
then it was destroyed. I think we've mentioned that you 
came out of the situation with a studio. You went into 
transition. You were living in the [Pacific] Palisades at 
Henry Miller's place with Twinka [Thiebaud] . You didn't 
have a studio, and then all of a sudden you had a studio, 
but it blew up. It was like one misadventure after 
another in a sense. What kind of work were you planning 
on doing? Was there something that was destroyed at 
Culver City that you never could recapture? I'm thinking 


of work in progress, like "God, I've got myself a big 
studio. There's been something in my head that I've been 
wanting to do for a long time." 

HEINECKEN: Well, the only thing that comes to mind was 
finally being without the responsibilities per se of the 
family and the marriage. If one didn't have a place to 
go, you would just die. I mean, it's just too traumatic a 

I had just finished printing the Cliche Vary 
lithographs. Those pictures were laid out all over the 
studio drying because they had to be air-dried after 
printing them. So everything was laid out in there. If 
there was any loss physically it was the loss of those 
pictures, because that had been probably a year's work 
putting all that together and doing the printing and 
creating the stuff. Some of it survived, or some of what 
I had mailed out already and stuff like that. But 
basically I lost a couple of hundred pictures. 
LEHMER: Which you don't retrieve. 

HEINECKEN: No. But I think losing the pictures was not 
as important as losing the studio and almost losing my 
life. I mean, these things can be ranked in importance. 
LEHMER: There are some themes that repeat or keep 
surfacing throughout your career in the sixties and 
seventies and eighties. You refer to material in fashion 


magazines, news magazines, mass media, television, right 
down to TV dinners. 

HEINECKEN: But just listening to those titles and seeing 
them in your mind--this is all in contrast to what we were 
talking about previously--this is all pretty light-headed 
stuff. I don't mean to say it's not serious, because it 
is, but it's light. There are jokes, there's humor, there 
are plays on combinations and things, none of which could 
possibly express the state of mind that I'm trying to 
remember or discuss with you. I think what I said earlier 
is interesting after thinking more about it, which is that 
the medium doesn't lend itself to physical, expressive 
situations. Maybe to some people it does, but I can't put 
my mind on it. If you think of the gesture of German 
expressionism and all that, where you can physically take 
something out of yourself-- Photography is not a very 
interesting medium for that, but I think writing is. 
LEHMER: Do you think of photography as more of a cerebral 
thing? There must be some kind of a link where you equate 
photography to language- - 
HEINECKEN: Well, we've mentioned that. 
LEHMER: --which you've mentioned before. What I'm 
getting at is, is it more of a cerebral act? 
HEINECKEN: Well, it is contrasted to a physical act. I 
mean, there is no physical-- 


LEHMER: But there have been times in your work where 
you've attempted to make your work physical. 
HEINECKEN: Well, yeah. There's things like — 
LEHMER: There were the formal blocks, later on there were 
the crumpled collages, and then your most recent work. 
HEINECKEN: Yeah. I'm going to try to figure out the 
terms here that would separate the physical from the 
expressive, because these are related things. What I'm 
getting at is that the gesture of a tool, let's say, in 
making an image, or the brushing or the stabbing or the 
cutting of it, those things are not just physical, but the 
mark that's left from that kind of an act is a mark which 
has that gesture in it. So you could take static images 
and layer them and you ' d come up with something that ' s a 
montage or superimposition, but you don't see the hand in 
it. That's the point I'm trying to make. It's kind of a 
difficult point. Painting, of course, in its highest form 
as we know it, is a gestural idea. Choices are made which 
are left as marks in that work, which aren't made with 
photographic images in that way. 

LEHMER: That's true. That physical, textural — 
HEINECKEN: Although in the Bellocq pictures — These are 
glass plates. [tape recorder off] Somebody on various of 
these glass plates before they were rediscovered had 
actually scratched the surface off of the genital areas or 


even the faces of these people so as to clean them up or 

make them anonymous people. At least that's one 

possibility. But see, that's not a photographic act. 

That ' s simply a gestural act which then shows up when the 

photograph is printed. [tape recorder off] 

LEHMER: So the three people in that show-- What about the 

photographs that Friedlander found of Bellocq's work? You 

say they weren't necessarily documentary. It could have 

been a documentary attempt without a conscious 

understanding of what documentary was-- 

HEINECKEN: Well, that's true. 

LEHMER: --by a portrait photographer trained in 

portraiture. He used his skills to document a culture 

that was not visually documented until then that we know 


HEINECKEN: Well, it's Interesting, because there maybe 

would have been, of these same women, obviously erotic, 

pornographic photographs made at that time. That was a 

big business. 

LEHMER: Yeah, that's right. 

HEINECKEN: But you have in this situation, this city — 

New Orleans remains today a city where whatever wants to 

happen is going to happen. Nobody pays any attention to 

it. It's a wonderful city that way. What's interesting 

about the photographs for me is the absolutely deadpan 


strategies involved. I mean, they are the prostitutes, 
and they're in either their prostitute clothes or nude. 
There's just in the setting of it- -I don't know what the 
comparison would be- -something that ordinarily is beyond 
the pale of cultural acceptability that can be neutralized 
by something like the camera. You're simply seeing the 
room they live in or they work in, what they look like, 
but without the gesture of eroticism or the activity of 
sex. I don't think there's any other thing like that that 
comes to my mind. It's just an amazing thing. 
LEHMER: The ideas that we've tossed out here remind me of 
my brother [J. Richard Lehmer] , who is a history teacher 
in Kansas City. He came out to visit once, and he said to 
me, "Don't you think art is elitist?" Whatever we were 
leading up to, it led up to that question. And I said, 
"Well, I think that it takes on the airs of being elite." 
That's because most of us have lost the ability to read 
visual work metaphorically. We have lost the skills to 
think metaphorically. We are crippled because of that. 
Why I'm bringing this up is that it reminds me of 
what we're discussing. That is that you can have these 
people who, even though they're partially clothed, are 
actually dressed up from their "professional attire" in 
the provocative gestures and positions that they might be 
very familiar with because it's their profession. They're 


not consciously, overtly attempting to be provocative. 
Yet somebody is looking at it literally, not metaphor- 
ically, and is upset by the fact that there might be 
exposed genitalia or something and is going to scratch it 
off. There is that gesture. It's very harsh when you see 
it. It's just like Tom [Thomas F.] Barrow's pieces, the 
Cancellation series, which is very abrupt. 
HEINECKEN: But that's a ploy. 
LEHMER: It's a ploy, but it's-- 

HEINECKEN: I mean, this is an interesting ploy — 
LEHMER: It's a cerebral thing that he was trying to do, 
but it was a very physical act. I question that his 
cerebral fencing or sport did not cover up the physical, 
emotional things that I felt were going on. It's the same 
as Uta Earth's work that she did a while back, where there 
was this small picture of a home, and a light was on 
inside, and it was dusk. Very inviting. There was warmth 
in there somehow. It was a very interesting story. She 
would talk to me about that work on some — 
HEINECKEN: Formal level. 

LEHMER: --physical, theoretical level that was so hard. 
And I'm saying, "Whoa, whoa. Stop." So there are these 
people who I think are overly cerebral, or that there is 
in the art culture and the academic environment a strong 
pressure or need to justify your work on a highly cerebral 


level . 

HEINECKEN: Well, these are strategies that one employs 
for a period of time when it's useful, and then it goes 
into something else or evolves into something else. But 
it's a kind of pictorial device to make you conscious of 
the intellect in it or of how smart the person is. With 
the Cancellation stuff, I always thought it was really 
nothing more than when you ' re a photographer and you ' ve 
got a proof sheet, you take your grease pencil and you 
make an "x" over the ones that obviously you're not going 
to use, and you circle certain things. If you don't know 
that activity, then these pictures that are so-called 
"cancellations" don't make any sense. It's a mild comment 
about the practice of photography. And Uta's thing, which 
I can't explain that simply, is another pictorial strategy 
to let the work reference something that's an inside joke 
or inside situation. Photography is perfect for that, 
anyway. It's entirely contextual within the framework 
that it's seen in and the viewer's attitude about what 
they're looking at. All art does that to some extent. 
LEHMER: I'm bringing all this up because there's 
something that I'm hoping I can articulate well enough 
regarding your work. That is that you've dealt with 
erotic images whose initial intent was soft-pornographic 
imagery in magazines. You recontextualized these images. 


That was in a sense more voyeuristic about the society 
that promoted the work than about the work itself. But 
there is that conflict between the seductiveness of the 
original image that is still there. So I think one has to 
question whether a lot of the work that you did with news 
magazines and television and a lot of your exposure of 
hypocrisy of society and the cultural inconsistencies-- I 
might have mentioned this earlier on tape, but there seems 
to be an ethic that might have prevailed through the 
different generations of the Heineckens, so to speak. 
Instead of being on the formal level that was with your 
past generations, some of those ethics were still 
prevalent in you. Yet there have been people who have 
raised questions about the success of your work or the 
credibility of it. I'm thinking of one series that was 
quite interesting. I happened to be around when that 
debate that was happening in Spot magazine out of Houston 
by Allan Sekula-- You handled it very well, although you 
didn't actually ever respond. There were all these other 
people who responded. I can't remember all the people. 
HEINECKEN: Well, [James] Hugunin started the whole mess. 
LEHMER: Jim Hugunin started it. He wrote an article 
about your work. You have seemingly dealt with a lot of 
ethics and cultural ideas, social ideas, and documentary 
ideas over the years. The fashion work and the 


conf llcts--like in Are You Rea--became less of a conflict 
and almost more supportive of a certain sexuality or lust. 
Then Jim Hugunin writes this article. Do you remember the 
gist of that article? 

HEINECKEN: Well, within the article in which he is 
discussing all of these things, he makes the point--thls 
will have to be loosely correct- -that something about what 
Allan Sekula was doing at the time was related to my work. 
Sekula was involved in something called The Archive. But 
in any event, what triggered the anger in Sekula, at least 
initially, was not about my work, it was about Hugunin 
suggesting that such low ideas like I might have could be 
relatable to something as lofty, as objective, as cerebral 
as his "real" work. It would be suggesting that there was 
a relationship. That's what got to him. That's why he 
responded the way he did. The first letter he writes back 
is pretty much about that. He makes some cuts at me 
because he's angry and whatever, but it's mainly directed 
at Hugunin. And then, of course, the response is back and 
forth. It started going on with other people who are 
writing letters to the editor about it, including myself 
finally. It was interesting, because I think I might have 
had the same response. If someone is taking something 
that I don't respect and relating it to my work, I might 
have the same response to that. I probably wouldn't be as 


angry about it, but I would certainly want clarification 
about what was being said about me. I tend to respond 
sometimes like that- -not in public. I wouldn't write a 
letter to the editor. I would call the person up and say, 
"Look, I don't think this is right" or "I disagree." I've 
done that. 

But the interesting thing which just popped into my 
mind is that we were talking about Are You Rea, which I 
think was probably my first concentrated effort to make 
some kind of point about what I'm doing. One of those 
things is that because the pictures are made from this 
magazine page idea, we know that you're getting the front 
and the back of the picture, which puts it into 
superimposition and sort of confuses stuff. So you can 
take any two pictures, whether they're on a magazine page 
or not, and put them together so you can't read them. 
Then the process here of contact printing the page to the 
paper produces a negative image. Have we discussed this? 
LEHMER: A little bit. 

HEINECKEN: Here's what's interesting about this to me: 
you could take the most unacceptable pornographic picture 
and print it in negative, black and white. How could 
someone be offended by that? You can't read it. They see 
the figure, they see all the stuff that they're not 
supposed to see, but it's reversed from your normal 


vision, so you have to actually read it for what it is. 

LEHMER: Well, that's a good point. I wasn't sure that I 

agreed with you after you said that. I thought about it 

driving down the road days later. 

HEINECKEN: Well, it's not a truth, it's just a 

proposition. What happens when you look at a negative 


LEHMER: But I think it comes back to what I was talking 

about, and that is that we don't look at a pornographic 

image for its reality but for its effect metaphorically. 

I mean, all it is is ink on paper, but in a sense it's 

like you might desire something that isn't there. It's 

the ultimate metaphor even though it's dealing with what 

we think is reality. It's a real picture. 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. It's not made from an imagination, it's 

made from the culture. 

LEHMER: So that if it is working on that metaphoric level 

of desire-- It's not the sexual physical act itself, but 

you can reference the potential. What I'm thinking is 

that because of that possibility, then the negative is 

also going to work, because it's still referencing on a 

metaphoric level . 


LEHMER: My thought is that it's not a real thing. My 

question comes back to what my brother was saying about 


what we have become as a society. That is, that we've 
become — 

Maybe I take a different view, not as educated and a 
lot more naive, than you of what text is. To me it 
reminds me of a lawyer: it's easy to manipulate the 
words, but it's hard to manipulate the image. It's easy 
to say something, but it's hard to do something. It's 
harder for me to do something than to say it. We have 
become a society that is very adept at doing things on a 
literal or verbal level. It's like you don't trust 
someone or believe it until you have it in writing. "I'll 
have my lawyer look at it." That's why lawyers are one of 
the highest-paid professions in our culture right now, not 
the shamans . 

HEINECKEN: [laughs] Well, they were never paid very 
well. They just got a lot of free time. 

LEHMER: Oh, they were paid very well by their societies. 
They were the kings of a society. 

HEINECKEN: Well, yeah, that's true. But their difference 
from the poorest person in the culture was not as great as 
[the distance from] our poorest person to our lawyers. 
They are the shamans -- 
LEHMER: You're right. 

HEINECKEN: — but they don't have any ethics. It's a 
shaman without ethics or a belief system except for money. 


LEHMER: Well, it's interesting, because I think that it 
reflects the audience's values. It gets back to- -I think 
I mentioned it- -a class I took at San Francisco Art 
Institute, Films as They Hit the Street. 
HEINECKEN: Oh, you've mentioned it, yeah. 
LEHMER: It was not about the film but it was about the 
society that would respond to that film on a commercial 
level. We were looking at commercial films. Now, we have 
to remember that the year that I did that was in the early 
seventies. But you referred to--what you know so well 
about- -this power and the strength at that time of the 
independent film. It was still very much a viable entity. 
HEINECKEN: Well, not to interrupt, but also if you think 
about the music of the time, the educational upheaval of 
the time, the free love, the casual sex-- I mean, this is 
a time period that probably will never be repeated in any 
way. All of those elements will never be set up that way 

LEHMER: The importance of this class was to try to study 
a society that would patronize these films on a commercial 
level, such as A Clockwork Orange or Garden of the Finzi- 
Continis, to give you an idea of some of the films we saw 
in that class. The question that I'm trying to get to in 
regard to your work is the debate between the metaphoric 
level that you have control over as an artist versus the 


literal level, which is like the raw materials. That's 

the way that I'm defining it. 

HEINECKEN: Yeah, but you want to always make the 

distinction. I think that what the artist might be seeing 

in it or making it mean is not necessarily what the viewer 

sees. There's always that breakdown or that dichotomy 

between one person's vision of something versus another's. 

We all have different takes on these things. When you 

enter into something like so-called pornography, you have 

the most wide variance of opinions about these things that 

you could possibly have. I think it's basically limited 

to American culture. We're a weird country that way. The 

sexual practices of each culture are different. 

LEHMER: Yeah, the societies all have — 

HEINECKEN: Well, I was going to get off into the American 

problem of fear of [inaudible]. 

LEHMER: Well, that is kind of interesting. I mean, that 

goes back to some of the things that your family has dealt 


HEINECKEN: Well, it is interesting that my personal 

situation as it evolves from childhood is-- 


MAY 25, 1996 

LEHMER: Okay, your personal childhood — 
HEINECKEN: It's Still bound up in my background of my 
family's religion. That never escapes you. It is never 
eliminated, but it's modified or altered. It continues to 
inform all of our lives one way or the other, our beliefs. 

Let me change gears here a minute. I think we 
haven't talked about this before, but if I have we can 
stop it. When I'm working on something-- You know, these 
kinds of clear thoughts never come to you when you are 
doing something. That's basically what I believe. You 
look at it when it's done. You throw it away, or you 
change it, or you use it. It's not a matter of trying to 
make something right. The thing is so easy to do in a 
sense. You can get a look at something like a photograph 
in a very small amount of time. You can toss it or put an 
"x" through it, like we were talking about. The point I'm 
making here is to try to explain in a teaching situation a 
system of how an individual might begin to look at things 
as opposed to the way they were taught to look at things. 

In the arena that we're talking about here in 
teaching, particularly in workshops, I would always bring 
up a specific situation, not because it only pertains to 


me, but it pertains to everybody. I'll take five words: 
sensual, erotic, sexual, pornographic, obscene. Then I'll 
say, "Okay, there's a range of terms that define certain 
kinds of pictures or activities. Now, you look at these 
words, and you put them in an order that you feel is from 
the subjective to the objective. Then you have to explain 
what's subjective and what's objective. Go home and do 
that. Think about it and come back tomorrow. We'll look 
at it." You can take all those rankings that they've now 
made--they ' ve got five words in a line that says "objective 
here, subjective here" --then graph that out on the 
blackboard for them, show them that between these ten or 
twelve or fifteen people there's absolutely no consensus 
about what these words mean when you have to consider that 
there's an objective term and a subjective term. 

It's a very interesting exercise to do, not because I 
invented it necessarily, but because it just informs 
people that they don ' t know how they ' re going to use these 
terms. Everything in their belief system would make all 
these pictures pornographic, let's say. But to a judge, 
some of these pictures are "obscene." "Obscene" is a 
legal term now. Pornography per se- -whatever we're 
calling it--is legal; obscenity is not. There is 
something that makes "obscene" the most objective state of 
these words because it's a judge saying, "This is 


obscene." Bang, "Go to jail, destroy it," whatever. At 
the other end of that scale for me would be sensual things 
which have nothing to do with sex, necessarily. It can be 
a piece of stone or wood that ' s been carved in such a way 
that you want to touch it. You want to feel it. You want 
a sensed curve. You don't want angles and all that. This 
has nothing to do with sex. It has to do with a physical 
capacity to understand a feeling which doesn't arouse 
sexual feelings but gives you a sense of using your 
senses. You're feeling things, you're looking at things-- 
So anyway, it's an exercise which I like to give to 
people, because it doesn't tell them how to think about 
them, it just tells them that they're not thinking about 

The terms can be identified. You can really analyze 
whether something's pornographic, for instance. I would 
say, first of all, you have to have a mechanical way of 
reproducing the picture--photography, film, printing of 
some kind. You have to have a culture of subject matter 
that is willing to participate in this for the money 
that's involved. These are our actors, basically. You 
have to have a distribution system, which is why you have 
to have a reproductive system, so you can make hundreds of 
thousands of these. Then you have to get them out of 
there. You have to make a magazine or a film. You have 


to get it in the mail. It has to have distribution. It's 
not illegal necessarily until someone takes it to the next 

You can think about "erotic" as a term whose meaning 
is ancient. This is clearly a picture or writing that's 
made to induce sexual feelings. To eroticize something, 
to make it into an object that you-- It's not a fetish 
necessarily, but it's a feeling that is used, particularly 
by men, to become aroused. That's the function of it. 
You can say, "Well, that's an erotic picture." It's not 
pornographic, because it's not made-- If it's a painting, 
let's say, by my terms, it can't be pornographic. You 
can't distribute it. It's for one person to own and look 
at. That's an ancient idea. The Vatican has the largest 
collection in the world of erotic art. This is true. I 
don't know why they have it. Basically it's to get it off 
the streets, I guess. [laughs] 

When you say something is "sexual," it's pretty 
simple to define: it depicts or talks about sexual 
activity. That's all it does. You can have a doctor's 
discussion of sex which is sexual. It's not pornographic, 
and it's certainly not erotic, but it has to do with 
subject matter that depicts sexual activity and nudity, 
LEHMER: Now, nudity-- You're bringing up something that I 


think is interesting. What some people might consider 
forbidden territory is the erotic-- No, we'll say 
"sexual." I'm not sure which term would be used. 
HEINECKEN: Well, see, that's the point. We don't know. 
Your sense of where it belongs is different than mine, 
different than anybody else's. 

LEHMER: But I'm thinking very specifically about how 
people define it. It always was intriguing to me how 
there are certain "forbidden, " quote, unquote, 
territories. For the longest time Playboy survived 
because of its sexual themes-- "playmate of the month" and 
all that--but that there were certain forbidden areas left 
to be photographed on the female nude. Those become 
forbidden, so people would desire to seek that out. Then 
comes Penthouse magazine, then Hustler magazine. Then 
there's the famous [Hugh] Hefner response that, "We're not 
a gynecological magazine. We're not going to stoop to those 
levels, " or something, as if it were a higher level, which 
I've always found interesting, because there's almost 
something forbidden about it. Performing a sexual act on a 
honeymoon at a resort in some exotic place is one thing, 
but in the back of a furniture store-- Or I heard they 
used to have these stories about where the most unusual 
place was that you ever performed sex. Someone mentioned, 
"We went into the PG&E [Pacific Gas and Electric] tent on 


a telephone pole," There's something arousing about the 
forbidden. Then you get into the areas of child 
pornography or the area of, as you said, "the willing 
performer" or something. Then the question of the 

HEINECKEN: Uninformed or unwilling. 

LEHMER: It comes down to the quote that I heard about the 
Japanese during World War II, "Japanese sex slaves." 
That's an interesting term, "sex slave." Not that it's 
right or not, but there seems to be an interaction of not 
only sexuality but of power and breaking the laws of the 
society. When you think of the bathing suits that you can 
see on Venice beach [California] now, some of the physical 
exposure of someone on rollerblades going down the Venice 
boardwalk versus the turn of the century where people had 
to be fully clothed from their neck down or something-- 
HEINECKEN: Well, these things do change through history, 
but more importantly they change from culture to culture. 
You mentioned the Japanese. Japanese art has a fully 
developed history of erotic art. This is art, by my 
terms, made to sexually excite one. It's built into the 
history of visual arts in that country. It's still there 
very strongly. But it doesn't upset people of that race 
or religion like it does our race and our religion, 
LEHMER: I wonder about the oppression of that natural 


desire, if it doesn't create a perversion that we find in 
our sexual mores, so to speak. Maybe things that might be 
considered wrong in a society like Japan are more 
prevalent in our culture. So I'm wondering if it's like 
putting the lid on a pot of boiling water--you' re going to 
have an explosion. 

HEINECKEN: I think in a sense that that's correct. 
That's one of the problems with this country. It's so 
class driven. The separation of level of intelligence and 
education-- It's a screwy place. We don't need to get off 
into this, but it's the most interesting place because of 
the confusion that exists here. 

Child pornography is a very interesting and 
complicated thing, because those are not necessarily 
unwilling or willing people, but their age in our culture 
makes them neutral or innocent when, of course, they're 
not necessarily. The point here is that we're driven by 
the laws of the country. We're not driven by our own laws 
or anybody else's laws. If you don't want to go to jail 
in this country, then you do not get into child 
pornography, that's clear. Or if you do you do it in such 
a way that you try not to get caught. The attitudes of 
most of the people about child pornography would be 
consistent with 90 percent of us: we don't think that 
this is right to do. It's not because of the sexual 


situation, it's because of the innocence of the people 
involved in it. 

But if you have adults who are making their living by 
performing in a pornographic film or whatever, it's not 
illegal. You can't prosecute these people. Then you get 
the "snuff" film idea, if you recall that. A snuff film 
purportedly was something where people were killed in 
sexual situations. Well, I don't know whether there were 
or were not such films. There were certainly very strong 
rumors and indications that there were such films. They 
always seemed to come from foreign countries where life 
wasn't taken as seriously as we do here. 

But anyway, I like the idea of trying to bring some 
structure to help understand sexual feelings or sexual 
images without saying "It's bad" or "It's okay," because 
it's a continuum where it's not boxes, that this is "this" 
and then there's "this." They're all intermingled in our 
minds depending upon our education, our culture, whatever. 
If we want to, we have to behave in this country within 
the current boundaries of the law. The law changes, the 
activity changes. 

Drugs are a very interesting thing in this country. 
It's the biggest industry and the most pervasive thing. I 
can't seem to figure out why don't they change the laws 
and see what happens, see if it gets better. Look at 


Prohibition. That's not an exact parallel, but you can 
probably stop a culture from using drugs or whiskey or 
whatever . 

You can't stop a culture from having sex. It's just 
not going to work. In some form or another they like it, 
they need it. 

LEHMER: A lot of your work could be described as 
voyeuristic. You're like an outsider observing a society 
and commenting on that with an opinion of what's been 
going on through the years. But in some of the more 
recent work you're just an active participant. I'm 
thinking of some of the photograms that you and I worked 
on that were not so socially or politically critical but 
were more highly aesthetic. The images worked well 
together. There wasn't the pressure of the artist 
commenting on the society. 

HEINECKEN: Well, I think that's true. I don't know how 
this affects other artists, but certainly as an individual 
you come to understand certain things by doing them, 
making them, thinking about them. Once you understand it 
I think you lose that edge of not understanding it, which 
creates the chaos of it. Once that's over with it's no 
longer that interesting to deal with. You move on to 
something else. Well, I do. Although I think most things 
that continue to interest me one way or the other are 


sexual-based things. Whether that happens to be a meal as 
opposed to physical sex, or it happens to be the 
sensuality of food or the absence of sensuality of food, 
there are still things that are connected to this in some 
way. Some of these things are driven by adolescence, and 
some are driven by something after that. 

You mentioned Henry Miller. This man never changed 
his attitude about it. I mean, at eighty-something years 
old he had it. But these are unique individuals whose 
focus and their understanding of their own focus is so 
great and so powerful that they don't need to change it. 

I was reading something about Timothy Leary. You 
know he's dying now. 
LEHMER: That's right. 

HEINECKEN: He didn't change. He's exactly the same 
person--the same beautiful understanding of things, the 
same arrogance, the same everything, right up to creating 
his own death in the way that he wants it to happen. I'm 
using him because he's now an old man too, like Henry 
Miller was. 

So certain people, I think, are capable of sustaining 
themselves even through a whole variety of situations in 
their lifetime and still they are focused pretty much on 
one thing. I'm not that person, but I don't think I'll 
stop making art or stop writing at some point. I'll at 


least be doing something to get up for in the morning. 
That's all. 

One more thing I would say about this is that- -I 
don't know if this would be a blanket statement--if I 
understand the range of these terms in the pictures 
involved, what seems to be interesting is to take 
something that would clearly be in the category that's 
understood as, let's say, pornography-- It is a magazine. 
It exists in millions of copies. It's sold. It's 
performed by willing people. To take that box and make it 
into something that is not pornographic or alter it 
somehow is what's interesting to me about this. You know 
that you're looking at something that is something in your 
mind, but it doesn't look quite right, you know? It's not 
working for me. It doesn't do what it's supposed to do. 
LEHMER: Which was your attempt with the negatives. 
HEINECKEN: Yeah. There's a whole variety of different 
ways of dealing with it. To take the Vietnamese soldier 
holding those heads, which is difficult to understand how 
that happens, but obviously, people cut people's heads 
off. They're proud of it. You put that in the context-- 
Which I'd say is really not sexually obscene, but it is a 
very powerful, obscene, terrible thing. You put that over 
a fashion ad [referring to his piece Periodical #5], then 
you're not sure what kind of — You know it's evil, but 


what's it doing in this magazine? What pervert would do 

LEHMER: Well, for the purpose of this tape and this 
interview and for future reviewers or researchers, we 
might want to mention what you're referring to. That was 
what I would define as one of your guerrilla projects. 
I'm going to guess it was during the Vietnam War, which 
would possibly be the late sixties, early seventies. 
HEINECKEN: It's at the end, yeah. 

LEHMER: You actually, if I remember the story, went out 
to your local magazine stand and you bought up all the 
Time magazines, or you bought a lot of them. Why don't 
you describe this project in your own words. 
HEINECKEN: This starts with the publication of two 
photographs--both in Time or Newsweek, I forget--probably in 
the early seventies, I would think, or the late sixties. 
One is a photograph of this South Vietnamese general 
shooting this guy in the temple on the street. Next to it 
was a photograph of this soldier holding two decapitated 
heads. I looked at both of them and thought, "Well, I've 
got to do something with this." So I made copies of both of 
them. Then I chose the one which was the least political, 
and that was the "heads" thing, because we don't know if 
"Now, is this North Vietnamese or South Vietnamese? Whose 
heads are they?" that sort of thing. Whereas with the 


other, we know that's general so-and-so; he's assassinating 
another guy. The guy holding him is a guard. We know that 
he's North Vietnamese and the other's South. That's the 
picture that caught the public's imagination, because they 
used it and used it and used it. They still use it. 
Whereas the other picture just dropped completely out 
because it was never reproduced. It was too much. You 
can't have these heads-- 

So anyway, I simply took that image of the guy with the 
heads and put it into offset plates and then took magazines 
apart so that I had single pages of all these different 
magazines. Then I just ran them through the offset press so 
that the image of the Vietnamese soldier with the heads is 
imprinted on the back and front of all of these pages 
through a variety of magazines--news, fashion, whatever. 
Next I recollated them into individual magazines that would 
have on every page this image in black ink over color, over 
all kinds of different articles from the magazines. 

Then a certain number, I think seven or eight of those, 
I snuck back onto the newsstand. I put Time magazine covers 
on these things, because Time magazine was-- At least, in 
observing people at the newsstand, you might go thumb 
through Playboy or Good Housekeeping , but Time, you know 
what it's going to be. It's all the news that you need to 
know about in one week. You buy it, put it under your 


arm, and get on the bus. So you're gone from the place 
when you discover that you've got something screwy in your 
hands. Then I also took a group of those and put them in 
dentists' and doctors' offices where they have all these 
magazines. My dentist was in Westwood here. Those 
offices are empty in the morning. Nobody cares if you're 
waiting or not. You just put it in there and go. So 
those two places were where I fed it back into the system, 
so to speak. But a distribution of seven or eight or 
whatever it was in a city like Los Angeles, or another 
seven or eight in a doctor's office, that's nothing. 
There's no effect. 
LEHMER: So why did you do it? 

HEINECKEN: Well, to get it done. I mean, I Just liked 
the idea that somebody somewhere is going to open this 
magazine up and going to be confused about it, is going to 
wonder about it. The real energy of all of that goes into 
the artwork and the exhibitions. The actual penetration 
of the culture on an individual level was an interesting 
thing to me, but the effect was not there. As a better 
effect, I took maybe five hundred of these individual 
pages and mailed them out to everybody that I knew, who 
are already, for the most part, people who would not need 
LEHMER: That's before the day of buying mailing lists 


[laughs], like L.L. Bean or something. 
HEINECKEN: I think most of these went to the SPE 
membership. I just went through my address book and sent 
it to everybody. Those are around. Those that people 
kept are now showing up in museums, the individual pages. 

The magazines are gone. I don't know what I would 
have done if I had bought that magazine and discovered it. 
I don't know what I'd do. Most people probably just said, 
"Well, there is something that's just wrong here" and got 
rid of it. 

The reason for that story is to take something that 
is obviously produced and seen in a context that is not 
the one that you see it in now, whether that be in an 
exhibition or artwork or magazines on the street, 
whatever. It's taking something from one point on this 
continuum and moving it into the other sector so that it's 
confused. It's something out of place. 
LEHMER: Why do you do that? 

HEINECKEN: That's the way my mind is. I don't know. 
LEHMER: All artists seem to tamper with something in a 
sense. There is an objective to making things more clear 
by shifting things. We talked about that with Lenny Bruce 
or George Carlin. That's why I think I like them so well, 
because they are so similar to a lot of the artists that I 
like who are the barometers of a culture. I still believe 


that good art is going to be the barometer of a culture. 
How do you study ancient cultures? By their artifacts. 
Maybe that is elitist in the sense that they have some 
lofty idea as to why you're doing this. Robert, why 
aren't you teaching people how to fly planes? Why are you 
altering work, manipulating work? There is an objective. 
Yes, maybe there is something screwy in interpretation. 
But you've got to--I've talked about this before; maybe I 
can't get it through my thick skull--be thinking about an 
audience, and then you say, "No." 

HEINECKEN: Well, you're always thinking about an 
audience. For me, thinking about the audience comes after 
it's done, after the whole thing is produced, whatever it 
might be. I have made a couple of pictures for someone 
using materials that we both recognized as a kind of-- 
It's like kissing someone. It's a connection that we know 
about, so it's our thing. But other than that there is no 
audience, really, to begin with. I mean, I have a 
gallery. I can take everything to the gallery. That's 
not my audience. But it's their job to figure out if 
there is an audience and, if so, how to do it. It's 
something that's not necessarily inborn or learned even, 

I have to externalize and make tangible internal 
feelings and ideas. It's just that I have to do it. The 


reason I'm talking to you is because I have to do it. It 
has nothing to do with art. It's to make tangible or try 
to make sense out of vague feelings, vague occurrences. I 
think we all do that one way or the other. 
LEHMER: Through the artwork or the production of art you 
begin to become more clear on things. It's like there can 
be two steps forward, one step back. Or it's not that you 
resolve a problem but you grow in enlightenment through 
the actual making of the work. 

HEINECKEN: Well, I think there are all kinds of 
important, lofty ideas connected with being an artist or 
writer. I think for me and for most people, as I 
understand it, they don't know what to do other than that. 
They know they've got to do something. I mean, when you 
get up in the morning you come to a place like this and 
you start doing something. Whether it's going to be art, 
you don't know, but you're doing something with it. It's 
a necessity. 

LEHMER: It's important that we try to create that space. 
HEINECKEN: This came up the other day about the students. 
I don't know how you can actually convert a graduate 
student into this state of mind where it doesn't matter. 
You have to figure out how to do it and why to do it and 
what to do with it. If you want that life, then you've 
got to figure this out. The culture and society are not 


going to give it to you. You are an outsider. If you are 
an outsider with some gift or insight, maybe you can have 
a life as an artist. Maybe. It doesn't mean you sell 
your work or you're famous, but you're doing it. 
LEHMER: Ernie [Ernesto] Scott, one of your grad students, 
once said to me, "God, if I couldn't get access to the 
tools that I am procuring right now to make the art that I 
need to make, I ' d be using a Xerox machine." 
HEINECKEN: Yeah. That's a mature statement. 
LEHMER: I respected that. Whereas I felt, "God, when I 
leave this institution and don't have access to that color 
processor, I'm not going to be able to make work." 
HEINECKEN: Well, see, now that's why I think writing is 
really the highest form of all this. It's all in your 
mind. You don't need anything. You need quiet and you 
need privacy, but that's all you need as opposed to making 
an eight-zillion-dollar movie or something. This is a big 
deal, complicated. For me, visual arts and writing were 
always at the pinnacle of these things, because it's an 
individual doing it. You don't need anything, really, to 
do it. Or you need minimal kinds of things as opposed to 
if you're a choreographer. You have equal opportunity to 
make something important, but as a choreographer you need 
a stage, you need fifty people, you need lighting, an 
audience. These are all things that come with that 


business and movies, whatever. If you're a writer it's 
good if you get a book out of it, but you don't need a lot 
of support except for your mind. 

I think that's why writing is so important to me in a 
sense, because it's like photography. Well, we've talked 
about this. You think you understand these words, and you 
do, but you can't imagine how this person got them into 
this particular sequence that still informs you about 
something but is beautiful in a way that you had never 
perceived these words to be used. To get it into a 
structure which we accept to be a conventional writing or 
poetic structure, these are the things that have to be 
learned by a writer. You could say conventional 
photography is simple writing. That's kind of off the 
head, but-- 

LEHMER: That thing that my brother said was very 
revealing about our culture. I look to my brother as a 
real barometer of our culture. Maybe it's the puritanical 
roots, but we talk about being very practical. A lot of 
the religions in this country suppress any kind of central 
activity. I use that in a very broad term, 

I think of printmaking as a very central medium. I 
learned to feel the resistance of the ink on the roller, 
to listen-- I mean, I use my senses. Until I could free 
myself up enough to use my senses, I couldn't make a 


decent print. Feeling the grease in the water and the ink 

on paper-- To get good at it you had to hear it, feel it, 

sense it. 

HEINECKEN: That's right, yeah. 

LEHMER: I see in you that ability to fly by the seat of 

your pants. Sure, you have learned a lot. You have to be 

smart when it comes to flying a plane, but there's also a 

feel. You were thrown into a situation where all the 

systems that you'd been trained to deal with blew up in 

your face and you had to get to earth in one piece. Some 

people do it, some people don't. 

HEINECKEN: That's right. 

LEHMER: I think that you relied on your senses, your 

intuition. You have learned to coordinate in your life 

the cerebral but also not to reject the intuitive or the 

sensual. I think that that's been suppressed in our 

culture an awful lot. We've become atrophied, literally, 

in our ability to read metaphorically. 

HEINECKEN: Well, it's like-- I don't mean to interrupt. 

The thing that I had on the wall--I don't know if it's 

still up there--about that quote from that guy, I mean, 

that says it all. *["The greatest difference between 

* Heinecken added the following bracketed section during 
his review of the transcript. 


the artist or poet and the ordinary person is found, as 
has often been pointed out, in the range, delicacy, and 
the connections he is able to make between different 
elements of his experience." I. A. Richards in Principles 
of Literary Criticism] It's not the meaning of something, 
it's the relationship of that meaning to something else. 
Basically that's what it is. It's so simple. 
LEHMER: There was a final thought that I wanted to 
discuss kind of off the subject. Since post-World War II 
you have been in Southern California. You moved, I think, 
to Glendale and then to Riverside. You have lived here 
for thirty years. You have had a great impact not only 
with your personal work but also with the program that you 
developed and the lives that you've influenced. You were 
an important player in putting Southern California on the 
map. We've talked about Ed [Edward] Ruscha and [John] 
Baldessari and people like that, but you're also a very 
important player in all this. It seems to me, as a close 
outsider, that you have made an incredible transition with 
relative smoothness in selling and making this change in 
the later years of your life. You're moving away from 
home base. In other words, it has not affected you like I 
Imagine it would affect a lot of people. Home base to you 
is in your head in a sense. If you've got a table where 
you can write and lay things out on, you-- 


HEINECKEN: Luckily it's a situation that I don't have any 
control over. If it weren't for Joy and her work I 
wouldn't leave here. There's no reason for me to leave 
here, but also there's no reason for me to stay here. She 
has to fulfill her obligations to herself and to her work. 
She could do it here, but there's no money here, so she 
has to go to work again. It's necessary. We could go 
back there for two years and come back here, but it's so 
disruptive. We know how to do it, and we could do it as 
simply as possible, but you lose probably three months out 
of every year just moving. I'm not willing to give up 
that time or that energy anymore. It's just crazy. 

I don't feel a connection to the community now as 
much as I did when I was teaching or when there were all 
these small battles to be fought. That was what was 
interesting about it. That's sort of over. There are new 
theoretical battles, but the battles don't interest me 
anymore. That work, that thinking, is just as important 
as any other thinking. It's just that I'm not interested 
in it. It's not that I'm too old. It doesn't interest 

Also, I want to say before I forget-- You knew 
[Elliot J.] Elgart, who was my friend, the painter. He 
always said something in jest like- -his kind of put-down 
of me — "You have to decide whether you want to be a big 


fish in a little pool or a little fish in a big pool." 
And he's saying to me, "Yeah, you're a big fish, but the 
pool of photography is nothing." He ' s a painter; that's a 
small fish in a big pool. It's true in a sense. That's a 
joke with him and me. 

LEHMER: Well, the last question I have for this tape is — 
You've been very productive here in the physical work that 
you've produced in thirty years. Why is your work not 
housed in Southern California? 

HEINECKEN: It might have something to do with what I do. 
It might even be something about being a local person. 
But Los Angeles was not a place until recently where we 
had any sense of collections here. MOCA [Museum of 
Contemporary Art] is the first place. Of course, I think 
it's one of the best museum situations in the country, 
although they don't have the holdings of the Museum of 
Modern Art or any other place. 

I don't know if this ever came up, but I worked on 
the artists advisory board at MOCA for two years every 
other week on Monday nights. It was just a tremendous 
amount of time that that group of people gave. Finally we 
realized that we weren't having the effect that we thought 
we were. They weren't listening to us, or they'd listen 
to us but they'd go ahead and do it another way. It did 
turn out that the museum and what it has performed as a 


function has been excellent. I don't think it would be as 
good as it is if the artists weren't there bitching at 
them at all times. We insisted, which they wouldn't do, 
that there should be no collection. The first director 
agreed with that, and then that changed. It turns out, 
which we didn't really think out clearly, that you have to 
have collectors to put up the money for the artists to 
donate to the museum to write off for income tax. That's 
a system that is fixed and cannot be changed in this 
country. So they have a collection, but it's a waste of 

LEHMER: Because art patronage is a private industry in 
this country. We can't seem to ever get into the public 

HEINECKEN: No, the government is supporting it. So the 
government in this case is the collector. 


MAY 26, 1996 

LEHMER: I'd like to start out by finishing up with a 
couple of thoughts from yesterday's tape. We were talking 
about Southern California. With your impact on Southern 
California, my question is, why is not more of your work 
here? Why is there not a permanent housing? Why is your 
work collected at the Center for Creative Photography [at 
University of Arizona]? We can talk about Tucson and what 
it is. I think we were finishing up with what Los Angeles 
had, which was not much for permanent collections. You 
were beginning to talk about the artists advisory board 
for MOCA [Museum of Contemporary Art] . I guess the 
question would be, what role did the artists play in the 
formation of MOCA? 

HEINECKEN: I guess the first thing is that it was an 
experiment on the part of the people involved and 
certainly as a part of forming the staff of the new 
museum. At that point all they had was a director, I 
think. There were all kinds of rumors about who was going 
to do what and what kind of a place it was going to be. 
Of course, it was privately funded to a large extent, but 
the city had money in it as well--property, tax breaks, 
etc. It was obviously going to be the centerpiece museum 


for the city. So all the artists would be interested in 
what this could be, based on what they perceived to be the 
failures of other museums, not just the [Los Angeles] 
County [Museum of Art] but other situations that they'd 
been in. I think it was always that the Museum of Modern 
Art in New York was sort of the standard. It's a very 
well organized, well-put-together situation, probably one 
of the best in the world. But I think most of us had some 
hesitations about the way it was structured, the way it 
was administered and all of that. 

I don't even know how the artist advisory thing 
started. I think Duane Valentine and Robert Irwin were 
the people who sat down with it to begin with. I can't 
remember at what point I entered it. Lee [Leland] Rice 
was on the committee, and at some point early on he, I 
guess, left town. He recommended that I sit on it, so I 
did. There was an attempt actually to have a represen- 
tation of people in different media. Photography was 
important at that point . That ' s why they had Lee Rice on 
there, because he was very active in curating and writing 
and all of that. It wasn't like, "You have to have a 
video artist, you have to have a painter, you have to 
this." It was just an attempt to have widespread media 
involved in it. 

Not to belabor all this, but in the setting up of 


departments within a museum which is traditional, curators 
who have run those departments for whatever reason didn't 
seem to be the ideal model from the standpoint of the way 
art was developing during this time period. There weren't 
the categories that existed before, so there was a lot of 
discussion about how to administer a museum without these 
departments. That finally did happen there. It wasn't 
because of what the artists said. They recognized that 
having departments of media eventually leads to a 
hierarchy of that media. Not that painting will always be 
at the top, but normally it would. So as far as the 
advisory board's input, it did set up the museum without 
these departments. That's the only thing, really, that I 
think was important about all of it. 

LEHMER: I think you mentioned briefly yesterday that the 
one thing that the artists were concerned about was to try 
to reduce the importance--the burden, the baggage — that 
permanent collections create. 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. There are other minor things that I 
remember discussing. Things like storage space in a 
museum for a collection is about 50 percent of the space, 
and then there's preparation space and all of that. By 
the time you get down to the exhibition space, you're 
probably at 20 percent of the building or something like 
that. That was an attempt to nullify that problem by not 


having a collection. Traditionally, the people who are 
the trustees of a place like this are committed to 
supporting it financially, and to some extent so are all 
other people who go pay the fees. Eventually the trustees 
are setting the policy. This was the case, I think, at 
the County Museum. It was one of the problems that was 
there. You can't expect people to be putting millions of 
dollars into new buildings and new programs without having 
a say in it. The artists advisory board was seen as 
something that could be equally beneficial to the input of 
it. The collectors are not the clients, they're the 
support. They've got the money. But this group of 
artists felt that they had something to say about it also 
on an advisory level. That's all it ever was. Some of 
the things that we wanted to have happen did, some didn't. 
But it was probably the first time, at least in my memory, 
where a group of people-- We met Monday nights for a long 
time, off and on for maybe eighteen months--not every 
night, but we spent a lot of time with this. And mostly, 
as I said, it was Duane Valentine and Irwin who did most 
of the ideation about it, especially Irwin. 
LEHMER: That's a big undertaking. 

HEINECKEN: By the way, I left to go back to Chicago at 
some point. What I'm saying is, after I left it continued 
to function. I don't know at what point it stopped. 


LEHMER: Did you recommend somebody to take your place? 
HEINECKEN: I don't think so. By that point I think most 
of the things that anybody wanted to discuss probably had 
been discussed. I have a feeling that it didn't need to 
last much longer than that . I don ' t know whether there 
was another person involved in it or not. 
LEHMER: Two ideas come up in my mind. One is, there is 
already a contemporary feature to the L.A. County Museum. 
Is this not a conflict of interest? How does one set up a 
museum like that and get public funding without the 
question being raised by the politicians and community 
members as to why we need to create and fund from a tax 
base another museum of contemporary art when the L.A. 
County is already providing that along with a historical 
inventory or survey? 

HEINECKEN: Well, I don't know the history of the original 
County Museum beyond my experience with it. But the art 
component of this was simply that. It was a museum of 
science, anthropology-- It had a full range of activities, 
one of which was the art thing, which never really got 
promoted or funded to any extent more than any of the 
other things. So the need was to actually break away from 
that association, which were the other county museums 
which were all downtown. 
LEHMER: But that had happened before MOCA was ever being 


considered. I mean, they got that new building on 
Wilshire [Boulevard] -- 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. Oh, of course. But I'm saying that the 
first motive to think about here is that--again, I'm not 
an expert on this--the group of people put up the money to 
convince whoever to move that aspect out of the other 
complex of museums. Find a site, put up a building, pay 
for the building with some county money, although I think 
most of it was private money that moved it and built it. 
Out of necessity, some of the baggage that was associated 
with it first came with it, such as the decorative arts 
and large collections of Iranian rugs, let's say, 
something like that. All that had to come with it. Of 
course, those departments then became fixed and important. 
But something like MOCA obviously steered away from any of 
that sort of material and tried to make it a museum of 
contemporary art rather than history. Again, when you 
start a collection, it isn't too long before that becomes 
history. If you don't have a collection, then everything 
that happens there is contemporary. You don't need all 
that money to buy the stuff. Now, of course, they have a 

LEHMER: I find it interesting, because what I remember, 
the first exhibition for MOCA was curated, designed by 
collectors. It wasn't a matter of work by artists or work 


by eras. It wasn't based on content. It was based on 
collections. It had "the collection of so-and-so, the 
collection of so-and-so." This was the first exhibition 
and I was just stunned by that. 

HEINECKEN: Well, yeah. My memory's not good on it, but 
that may not have been something other than to, let's say, 
honor those individuals who had private collections. 
Whether they were pressing those people to donate them or 
not I don't know. Certainly we shouldn't mislead or lose 
sight of the fact that there were important collections 
here--maybe ten big individual, private collections--which 
either had to go to the County, out of town, or to MOCA, 
because those were the only players. I think basically my 
and the artists' involvement in it was something 
interesting for us to do. We had a sense that we were 
involved in it. Whether they would listen to us or not, 
at least there was a forum by which we communicated to 
them. They gave each of us lifetime membership to the 
museum, which is worth some money. We're invited to all 
of the same functions the trustees are invited to, so 
we're at the top echelon of the social situation of the 
place. It isn't important to us, but it's nice that they 
did that. 

One more thing. There was this guy named [K.G.] 
Pontus Hulten, who was Dutch or German or something. He 


was to be the first director. So he was the person that 
we dealt with mostly. He was still in Europe, but he 
would come over, and we'd meet with him occasionally. It 
turned out that he never had it in mind that he was going 
to be the director. He was the "name." He's like a big 
shot, right? A real big shot. He's supposed to be the 
director. Then all the money and all the prestige that 
comes with someone like that was because he was going to 
do it. Well, it turns out it never was in the cards that 
he was going to do it. He was to be the magnet for all of 
this, and as soon as they got everything going he 
disappeared. The story is that he never intended to be 
the director but only the magnet. That's what his job 
was. I always thought that was pretty interesting. 
That's high-level thinking. 

LEHMER: Yeah, you're right. Peter Ludwig, a big 
collector in Europe--a chocolate magnate in, I think, 
Cologne--his background was not only in business but also 
in art history. He was a big collector. He worked a 
deal, I think, in Cologne that he would create a museum 
and donate a tremendous amount of work to get this museum 
off the ground if they would lighten up on his chocolate 
manufacturing. I think there were labor concerns. But 
anyway, it was an interesting story. I know that he was 
also committee chair for the foreign interests at the 


Museum of Modern Art and on the board at MOCA, which I 
found interesting. So they have a stellar committee of 
people. We're not talking about vice presidents of an oil 
company based in Los Angeles; we're talking about an 
internationally renowned list of art authorities. 
HEINECKEN: This guy Hulten I think runs the Louvre now in 
Paris. That's the kind of job he went for. 

LEHMER: The second question I have is, why is your work--? 
I mean, you've created a lot of work, personal artifacts — 
I don't know the term. All your materials that you've 
generated over the years, the majority of those materials 
are being housed at the Center for Creative Photography in 
Tucson. How did that come about? 

HEINECKEN: Well, the first thing--let me just think a 
minute here- -I would mention is what you brought up 
earlier about being local. I think that still has 
something to do with it. It's not uncommon maybe for 
people in any business or any endeavor to look outside of 
the immediate surroundings or environment for their 
expertise, because there's always the sense that there's 
an inborn quality to local or resident situations. I 
think that's just a natural thing that everybody goes 
through. I don't think that it's unusual for that to 
happen. This is related to something else that I want to 


Parallel to this is going to work at UCLA, and I've 
explained how that happened and the kind of accidental 
quality of that. It's not really a very good idea for a 
person — like the Harvard [University] story you just told-- 
to go and teach at the school that they went to, because 
you're always remembered as a student. You have to wait 
another thirty years before all those people who were your 
teachers are dead. And they never forget it, either. 
It's not a good situation. 

LEHMER: It was a stupid story that I told you, because 
you did that here. 

HEINECKEN: Well, yeah. But I don't think I would have 
done it had I been smarter. It was a marvelous 
opportunity. I took it, and I'm glad I took it, because 
it worked out. It's not an ideal situation. I would 
never recommend that they do that at UCLA or any other 
place unless the circumstances are such that there's no 
other way to do it or something like that. 
LEHMER: You overcame some major obstacles. 
HEINECKEN: Well, the thing that helped me, as I've 
explained, was starting a new program here. If I would 
have, let's say, for whatever reason continued to be in 
drawing or painting or printmaking or design or whatever, 
it would have been terrible. Then you're simply 
propagating the thing that you know about. In this 


instance, nobody knew anything about what we were doing 
anyway. And as I pointed out before, the whole College of 
Fine Arts was being formed. Any idea was possible, 
because it was a reform that we were looking at. So I 
don't think I suffered as much as I would have if I had 
not been inventing a whole new thing. If I were simply 
carrying on the institutions' former ideals as another 
artist--painter or whatever--it wouldn't have worked. 
LEHMER: I think the other thing we have to mention is how 
you perceive the Center for Creative Photography. It's a 
unique institution. You obviously feel comfortable with 
them to the point where you ' re giving them every bit of 
personal information that you have ever held onto over the 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. I guess the first thing that I would 
clarify is that the gallery that I worked with during this 
time period was Light Gallery in New York, which was 
directed by Harold Jones. He was the first director when 
it opened. I had known him actually when he was a student 
in a summer workshop he took that I worked in. [Robert] 
Fichter was in this same class, and so were [Robert] 
Sobieszek and Tom [Thomas P.] Barrow. These were all 
students in this course. It was an amazing group of 
people, not because I was there but because Nathan Lyons 
was there, and he stirred these people up. Every one of 


those people, with a few exceptions, went into 
professional work in the field of photography. It's 
amazing. And Harold was one of them. But anyway, when he 
left the gallery he went to be the first director of the 
Center for Creative Photography. Then, subsequently, he 
left that job and became a professor of art there. So 
anyway, my connection was really with him to begin with, 
not because of our friendship, but I helped to ideate, as 
did a number of other people like that-- "What would it 
be? "--because this was the first time that it's ever been 

I was approached by the next director, who was Jim 
[James] Enyeart, about his trying to put together enough 
money to buy some works of mine that were seminal --or that 
he felt were seminal--that could be part of the 
collection. So that started and simply continued to grow. 
They purchased things whenever they could. Then this 
archive thing came up, which he also proposed to me, 
saying that I should also take advantage of that. They 
were interested, I think, in somebody who was contemporary 
rather than dead and who was experimental in their work as 
opposed to traditional. All the others were traditional 
people. In his mind, I fit that bill. So that's how that 
started. It's just very fortunate for me. 
LEHMER: So it's not just something that you've donated. 


There's a financial incentive- - 

HEINECKEN: No, I've never donated any of my artwork to 
them. Oh, some early work and stuff that I wouldn't put 
on the market anyway. This is stuff that's more 
important — 
LEHMER: Historically. 

HEINECKEN: Yeah, right. But I would say all of the work 
from the last ten or fifteen years that they hold is on 
loan for sale. I can pull it out any time I want. And I 
have done that. When there is an exhibition or something 
that Pace[Wildenstein] wants, I'll just take it out of 
there. The archive is different; they own that. There 
are certain restrictions about what I could get out of 
there, because that's different. Those are all gifts. 
There ' s no money involved in that . I think I mentioned in 
the beginning, some people got $100,000, like Ansel Adams 
and those people. Of course, it's the only place, really, 
that is a foundation functioning within the university. 
It gets some university money, but a lot of it is still 
private money. There are trusts set up. It's independent 
from the politics and whatever of the university but 
certainly is still caught up in it to some extent. 
LEHMER: Who are some of the other artists whose work is 
collected by that center? 
HEINECKEN: Their own personal artwork? 


LEHMER: Yeah. 

HEINECKEN: I don't know. It's a pretty wide-ranging 
thing. I mean, it's probably one of the largest 
collections of photographs in the country. 
LEHMER: Really? 

LEHMER: I've heard Ansel Adams and Edward Weston, Eugene 
Smith — 

HEINECKEN: Well, these are the people in the archive. 
The Weston family gave all of his negatives and stuff like 
that. The same with Eugene Smith, the same with Ansel 
Adams. These are archival materials as opposed to sets of 
pictures. Although I think for all these people they also 
got a lot of the personal work of that individual at the 
same time. Fred [Frederick] Sommers is another one. 
These are important people in the history of the medium in 
America, all of them, and their archives are held there. 
My opportunity to become part of that was interesting, 
because I'm not part of that tradition. I'm not that old. 
So it was a good opportunity for me--not for the 
collection, but the archive is a terrific thing. I like 
the idea of it. But they remain mostly interested in a 
balance of historical and contemporary exhibitions of 

The show that's there now, which went up when I was 


down there, is William Christenberry. It's a huge 
retrospective exhibition of a contemporary person. It's 
traveling all over the country. They'll probably buy some 
work out of that for their collection, but he's not in the 
archives. How did I get off on that? I don't know 
exactly. [laughs] 

LEHMER: Oh, I think we were talking about Southern 
California. One of the thoughts was that because you were 
so important here I'm a little surprised at the fact that 
your work is leaving town. 

HEINECKEN: Well, there's no place here that would take 
it. It's not because of being local or anything; there 
just isn't a place in the country like that. [George] 
Eastman House [International Museum of Photography and 
Film] is kind of like that, but that's not connected — it 
is a research institution--to a university like Tucson is. 
I don't know whether it's ideal or not, but it's an 
important center for an awful lot of activities that are 
limited to photography. 

Also, I think another thing that's always in the back 
of my mind about this is that because of your connection 
to UCLA and to me you probably have- -which I think is 
wonderful--an elevated viewpoint of what I represent or 
what I've done that isn't shared necessarily by all of the 
people in this arena- -far from it in some cases. But I 


think that's okay. I mean, you're doing the interview 
because you're interested in what I have to say about it, 
so I'm trying to say it as straightforwardly as I can. 
It ' s good that you have an elevated point of view about 
it, otherwise you wouldn't be doing it. I'd be just 
another person, right? So that's good. But what I'm 
trying to say here is it's not — Well, I don't know how to 
put that. There are people of my age more important in 
this than I am or would ever be, like Robert Frank or 
[Jerry] Uelsmann. There are a lot of people who have made 
very significant contributions. I hope I'm one of those 
people. The reason that's interesting in Los Angeles is 
probably I'm the only one, or the oldest person, or 
something like that, who's been here long enough to have 
seen all of this. Darryl [J. Curran] would be another 
one, or [John] Upton. All those people were around there. 
LEHMER: That brings me to an exhibition that I spotted 
that I thought was very interesting and don't know much 
about. I went to see this major exhibition of Robert 
Frank's work, and there was a piece in there on the wall-- 
We're talking about a very important piece that was part 
of a major survey of a very important artist. That piece 
was six images, a matrix of work, that dealt with his 
participation in a--and you might tell me what that was-- 
workshop or an event that took place in Boston. You 


produced, I think, SX-70s of this. It was with Robert 
Frank and John Wood and you, which I find-- 
HEINECKEN: And Dave [David] Heath. 
LEHMER: Dave Heath, okay. 
HEINECKEN: There were four of us. 

LEHMER: That's right. When was this exhibition? Was 
this the mid-eighties? 

HEINECKEN: Well, it never was an exhibition. The date 
eludes me at this point. It's got to be at least fifteen 
years ago. *[I think the first tentative ideas and 
meetings were in 1982 and ended in 1986.] This was the 
idea of Bill [William] Johnson and Susan Cohen, who were 
husband and wife and lived in Boston. She actually was a 
Ph.D. candidate at Boston University studying with Carl 
Chiarenza. She never finished it, for whatever reasons I 
don't know. She was a very bright, intelligent, 
interesting person. Bill Johnson was a bibliographer at 
the Eastman House. Well, first of all they got seed money 
from Polaroid [Corporation] to support this thing. They 
selected the four of us I don ' t think with any conscious 
idea that there was a variety of opinions or anything, 
although there obviously was. These were people whose 

* Heinecken added the following bracketed section during 
his review of the transcript. 


artwork they liked. 
LEHMER: Terribly diverse, though. 

HEINECKEN: Yeah, and different, really. By this time 
Robert Frank had just begun or had already begun to go 
back to making photographs again. He made these collages 
and assemblages, as opposed to The Americans, which he had 
quit during that time period. So that's why the four of 
us were selected. There certainly could have been other 
people if they had really thought about the range of 
personalities or work that they wanted to represent. But 
it was basically people whose work they respected. 
LEHMER: Was there anything within all the diversity of 
these people that was some thread of unity? That 
everybody chose at some point to work in book form? 
HEINECKEN: Well, yeah. I guess I shouldn't have put it 
negatively at the beginning. It was a very interesting 
idea, but it never worked. That's one of those things. 
It just didn't happen. Partially because the mix of the 
individuals was such that-- I don't think anybody had an 
idea that they were self-important--Robert Frank the least 
of that. But you had four individuals there that are 
being brought together over a period of time, maybe ten 
times, to try to make something happen other than getting 
drunk or whatever you do. We'd just meet and talk. It 
was very interesting, but it never went anywhere. I think 


it would have, except that at some point- -which I don't 
need to go into- -Polaroid pulled the money out. So when 
the money left, there was no way to continue it. 

There never was anything produced except that Susan 
and Bill kept a journal of the whole thing, a marvelous 
inch-and-a-half -thick record about what went on. They 
bound five of them, one for themselves and one for each of 
us. Probably the best selection of all of those people's 
work is in this bound thing. But it never came to 
anything . 

The idea was that we were to collaborate on 
something. Well, that sounds interesting, but nobody's 
going to collaborate with this bunch. It just wouldn't 
happen that way. Robert Frank is the only person, as far 
as I know, that ever did anything out of it, simply 
because his creative mind-- He was probably the least 
interested in any kind of collaboration that might go on. 
I don't think any of us were actually friendly to each 
other at that point. Afterwards we were. It was like 
trying to put four different animals together or 
something . 

LEHMER: That's a very interesting idea. I'm intrigued by 

HEINECKEN: The reason Polaroid pulled the money out was 
that when they got around to actually discussing funding 


of this, whether it would be a collaboration or not, the 
Polaroid officials-- The contact guy was Eelco Wolf. 
Above him were these other people, who decided that one of 
these individuals was not correct for this idea and they 
weren't going to put any more money into it. That's what 
stopped it. 

LEHMER: So it was politicized. 
LEHMER: Who was it? 

HEINECKEN: I'm not saying. But anyway, back to Robert's 
matrix of pictures, the "lust" thing. I don't even 
remember how that came up, but that was Robert's catch 
phrase for this "lust" thing that he saw in me. He was 
always joking about- - 
LEHMER: "Curb that lust." 

HEINECKEN: "Curb that lust." Yeah, that was the catch 
phrase between him and me. I think all three of the 
pictures about the other people have similar things in 
them. I don't understand what they are, but he knows. 
Robert Frank knows and John Wood knows somehow. John 
Wood, if you ask him, "What's that 'curb your lust' 
thing?" he'll say, "I don't know," because he's not in on 
it. It's not something that he was aware of. That was 
between Robert and me. I think he obviously had similar 
connections to each person that way, and it shows up in 


his picture, but you can't interpret it unless you know 
what's going on. 

LEHMER: He has an interesting ability-- God, how would 
you say this? It's like a hot knife through butter, to 
make strong connections with people in a short period of 
time. He came to San Francisco Art Institute for a week, 
and I felt like he and I had this great bond. All I can 
think of is that his life must be full of that. 
HEINECKEN: Well, he's just a very expressive, volatile 
person. He's learned how to live off of that "volatility" 
or whatever that word would be, or off of those horrendous 
events in his life. They're almost insurmountable, I 
would think. 

HEINECKEN: But the thing that was interesting was that 
you know these individuals a little bit. John Wood is 
probably the quietest person that I've ever seen. I don't 
think he spoke ten words over the year and a half period. 
He's just like this guy. He's an artist, and that's it-- 
no theory, no big things to say about it. And Dave Heath 
is catatonic most of the time. He was in stages of manic 
depression. I mean, he was ill all during this time. He 
would just disappear or not function. So that really left 
Robert and me to do whatever we were going to do. We had 
a good time at it. We became friends more through that 


than I had known him before. 

Part of the problem of the project was the energy 
level between the people just never happened. In a sense 
it's good that it didn't, because it wouldn't have done 
anything. The way it worked out, pulling the money out 
was the best thing that ever happened to it, because then 
there was no commitment to have to do anything at all 
except make this book, which they made. And it's a great 
thing. I can't find mine. I don't know where that is. 
LEHMER: Do you think it's in Tucson? 
HEINECKEN: It must be. I hope so. 
LEHMER: I would like to see that. 

HEINECKEN: Well, it's very valuable, because there must 
be two hundred slides of each person. So you see all of 
The Rmericans, then you have Robert commenting about how 
he put that together. You have less of that from me or 
John Wood. The work is there. It's a wonderful 
collection of slides. 

LEHMER: This thing ought to be picked up somehow and 
produced into a book. 

Anyway, contact and exposition. 
HEINECKEN: Right. I got this from John Paul Jones, who 
was the printmaking guy at UCLA who I studied with. I 
actually got to know him quite well. We were very good 
friends until he left there. I don't know how it came up- 


he wasn't someone who was "teachy" all the time or 
whatever- -but somehow it came up in conversation that the 
problem of being a university teacher or professor is that 
you expect it's the contact between you and the students 
which is important, and it is, but that you don't want to 
get lost in that. He's advising me--I'm a younger person-- 
that the real job is to teach and inform through exposition. 
Showing your work is what he means as opposed to telling the 
student all the time. I'm sure he found himself with the 
same problems that all people teaching in universities have. 
You never have any time to do what you ' re supposed to do 
other than talking to people. So it was about trying to 
find a balance between contact, which is important, but not 
spending all your time doing that and thinking that that's 
teaching. Because teaching really is when your own work is 
exposed in addition to the teaching function. Does that 
make sense? 
LEHMER: Yeah. 

HEINECKEN: In other words, at UCLA and a lot of places, 
it's very difficult for-- Well, people like [Elliot] Elgart 
or Ray [Raymond] Brown, these are interesting artists but 
never had the ambition or necessity to actually show their 
work publicly. Ray Brown, for instance, showed his work 
once a year. He would take the sixth and seventh floor — It 
would be a weekend. He wouldn't be there. He just put all 


his stuff over there, and you could go over and look at it 
if you wanted, which was great. But the students never saw 
it. No gallery ever saw it. It's the hermetic quality that 
tends to pervade universities. It's kind of difficult. 
LEHMER: Well, if we define contact, we're talking about the 
telling, the lecturing. You're having direct, quote, 
"contact" with the student. What are the functions of 
contact? How would you subdefine that term? You're talking 
about lecturing about your ideas. You pull together 
interesting thoughts of various methods. You may talk a 
little bit about what an artist has done-- 

HEINECKEN: It's not just in the arts that this happens. If 
you're studying anthropology with someone who's lecturing to 
you and telling you what this is about who's written five 
books on this or has a Nobel Prize, you listen to this 
person. This is what he [Jones] is talking about. You 
can't actually expect to teach art--or anything, probably — 
by talking about it unless you in fact are the model. I'm 
saying Ray Brown is as good a model as anybody, or as good 
an artist. Maybe he's a better artist than a lot of us, but 
he's a reclusive artist. He's not someone who cares about 
activity. Or Elgart or [Samuel] Amato. All those people 
are excellent teachers. On the other hand, you've got 
people like Bill [William] Brice, who showed all the time, 
or Lee Mullican, who was famous, actually, or [Richard] 


Diebenkorn. It's been something that I'll just go back to 
all the time and think about. 

This conversation we're having really isn't something 
that needs to be done. It's good that we're doing it. We 
have it. You learned a lot from it. It's good for me 
because I can remember things. But it's not an important 
situation for my artwork, because every minute I do this I'm 
not doing something else. That's what Jones was talking 
about. You have to find this balance. I think it's just 
good advice, that's all. 

LEHMER: Now, when you talk about exposition, it's a matter 
of your work being out there in the public's eye. The 
student can look at it independently of contact. 
HEINECKEN: Exactly. And maybe, if you're any good at it, 
then you probably could see in that work some verification 
of the principles that you ' re trying to talk about to these 
people. If it wasn't there, then I don't think the 
exposition of that would be effective. Well, there's that 
phrase, "You can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?" 
That sort of thing. 

LEHMER: Have you ever found a problem with this where the 
student, because they know what kind of work the mentor has 
done or is interested in, would attempt to imitate that work 
because it is so available? 
HEINECKEN: I don't think that's a problem. The chances of 


that happening-- Let's say you never saw the artwork of your 
teacher, which is the case with some people. You never see 
what they do. That doesn't seem to affect the possibility 
that that student internalizes that information, goes ahead 
to use it, and becomes an artist. You don't have to be 
exposing all of the time. He's just saying — and I believe 
it--that it's necessary. Otherwise you lose your-- 
LEHMER: Credibility. 

HEINECKEN: --yeah, your credibility. You lose the sense 
that art can be something that is important to other people. 
It can also not be. This is simply a choice that you have 
to make. You don't have to accept it, you can deny it, but 
you have to think about it. It's not just exhibitions, 
although the exhibition is the best thing, because you 
actually see the stuff. If you have catalogs, or if you're 
involved in other exhibitions, they actually can see that 
you're doing something. I think that's important. We don't 
have football coaches that don't play football when they're 
younger. They don't enter this on an intellectual level 
about how to coach football. They know what's going on. 
That's part of the credibility, I think. 


MAY 26, 1996 

LEHMER: One of the things that I wanted to elaborate on 
which I don't know if we've actually talked about yet is a 
series of satiric slide lectures that you have created. It 
is in keeping with the irony that is a thread through much 
of your work. Why did you create these? What were they 
produced for? What was the response? 

HEINECKEN: I don't know the date of the first ones; maybe 
that's not important. The way--which I guess I've mentioned 
before- -I got involved in SPE [Society for Photographic Edu- 
cation] was that they had this open invitation. Anybody 
that wanted to come to this meeting-- before it was called 
SPE--could deliver a paper. I had written a paper about 
photography for an art history course as a graduate student 
here. I put slides together that went with this paper which 
were supposed to explain basically what the effect was in 
the artistic community when photography was invented. What 
were some of the thoughts? So I researched maybe twenty or 
thirty quotations by different people, like [Eugene] 
Delacroix says, "Painting is dead." Then I would show a 
slide of Delacroix's paintings so that you could see what he 
was doing. I think that was the first time that I ever did 
anything publicly like that. It was a very small group. 


maybe ten people or something. I enjoyed it. I really 
thought, "This is it." I liked doing it, and I still do. 
It occurred to me, I think kind of consciously, that 
there were some people--! can't point to anybody--who were 
effective at giving a talk and some people who just can't do 
it. Somehow the idea of irony or satire or making a fool of 
yourself was an interesting way to get things across, I 
thought. I think the opportunity that first came was when 
Linda Connor did an exhibition at the San Francisco Art In- 
stitute--small, not really an exhibition but on their bul- 
letin board--of these snapshots that some student who worked 
in a photo lab lifted. Every time that student saw some- 
thing weird he would make another slide or print for 
himself. Then somehow Linda ended up with all of them. 
There must have been like fifty or sixty of these things. 
They are hilarious. I mean, they're just strange stuff. So 
I talked to her about using them. She said fine-- Or she 
talked to the guy who really owned them, and he said fine. 
I had a set of slides made of all this stuff and put 
together a talk, which was a parody on [John] Szarkowski, 
[Beaumont] Newhall, Peter Bunnell, all the figures in the 
curatorial range of this. Szarkowski 's book at that point 
was called--what?--where he tells that it's the detail 
versus the moment -- 
LEHMER: Looking at Photographs'? 


HEINECKEN: Yes. Anyway, all I did was simply take the 
writings or presentation of ideas of four or five different 
historians and make a joke out of it, showing them these 
snapshots, which of course unconsciously related to-- Well, 
there's a guy in a jockstrap, for instance, with a hunting 
rifle. I remember this one. So you'd say something about-- 
One of the terms Szarkowski uses is "the thing itself." You 
don't have to say "the thing itself"; "the subject matter" 
would be the common thing. I would make the joke about the 
jockstrap is "the thing itself, " because people know the 
phrase from Szarkowski. It's a very funny thing. There's a 
tape someplace of it, I think. I just loved doing it. I 
think it ' s the same part of my personality that ends up in 
the pictures but sort of in a different way. There are 
elements of surprise, elements of misconnecting different 
things that seem to be right, or causing you to think a 
certain way even though it's crazy. So it's part of what I 
do daily here but without formalizing it. It's just the way 
I am. 

LEHMER: It reminds me of the SX-70s, the Lessons in Posing 
Subjects series. A lot of photographs that you've taken and 
reproduced out of catalogs, they're somewhat irrelevant. In 
a sense this is talking back to the idea that you know the 
words were more important than what you saw visually. 
HEINECKEN: Yeah, exactly. It's really just to put fake 


text with a photograph. It's also interesting that you 
rarely find a photograph that would function like a painting 
without a title, without text with it. Photographs always 
for whatever reason need to be captioned. It's like a news- 
paper photograph of something; you don't know what the fuck 
it is until you read the caption. You say, "Well, this is 
some politician doing something." But you always have to be 
told what it is that you're looking at, because the 
information isn't there. 

LEHMER: Wait. That's the medium of reality versus 
painting, which is-- 

HEINECKEN: Well, that's the difference. When photographs 
are manipulated physically, then-- You look at a [Jerry] 
Uelsmann picture, and you see that these things don't belong 
together but they look like they're together. It's clear to 
you that he ' s put these two or three things together in a 
seamless way that makes it look like nature. You don't have 
to explain it. You can't explain it because it explains 
itself. But as with most photographs, even Robert Frank is 
going to put "Detroit, nineteen- seventy-whatever . " It tells 
you that much, at least. 

LEHMER: Isn't it interesting that we need to have titles 
with reality, but things that are obviously not real don't 
need titles. 
HEINECKEN: The other person that comes to mind, [Aaron] 


Siskind, was also very big on the idea that you never titled 
a photograph. Of course, these are highly abstract pictures 
that you could take as form without having to put some kind 
of abstract-expressionist title on them. But that happens 
rarely. Most photographs need to be explained. 

That's what was interesting about this slide lecture, 
because it was satirically explained. It's like using 
serious ideas on these stupid pictures, which is what 
Szarkowski does. I mean, I don't disrespect him, but-- 
Newhall's book was also quoted very much in this first talk, 
because he's got another whole set of things. John has "the 
detail," "the moment," "the thing itself." Newhall's got 
other things he calls-- "Quest for form" is one. I can't 
even think of the others now, but everybody in the audience 
is aware of these terms. They know the history of them. 
That's the bible, actually. But you're looking at the wrong 
pictures with them. 

LEHMER: These authors have created laws. 
HEINECKEN: Well, that's their job, you know? 
LEHMER: What you're saying reminds me of something that I 
read that Edward Weston had said. It was, "I don't make 
rules so I don't have to break them." 
HEINECKEN: [laughs] Right. 

LEHMER: In a sense you're playing the maverick. Like, 
"Wait just a minute. I'm not buying into this law that is 


being created by this curator." I mean, we all respect what 
they do, and we need what they do, but it's important that 
you keep them in check. It's part of your responsibility, I 
think, as an artist to-- 

HEINECKEN: If you don't have those terms there's nothing to 
parody. You have to have them to begin with. They are 
correct. I don't know of any artists who sit down and try 
to figure out how to explain this very much, because it's 
not what they do. But art historians, curators, it's their 
job to do that. 

LEHMER: Unfortunately I think that has changed, in my 
opinion, to where the curator is the artist. The work is a 
justification of a preconceived idea. 
HEINECKEN: Well, if these things didn't need to be 
explained we wouldn't even have museums, much less staff for 
museums, if they were just natural to the culture. But 
they're not; they're elevated somehow out of that. It's 
like the cave paintings. You didn't have to explain it to 
the native people. Somehow they're involved in it. Or any 
kind of early dance music. It's part of the life of the 
people. But we're now at a stage where that no longer 
happens . 

LEHMER: How would you respond to the thought that I'm 
having that goes with the idea that most of the artwork 
historically, since the beginning of time, maybe from the 


cave paintings, is based in religion or spirituality, and 
then in a contemporary time you might say that it doesn't, 
or it's not based-- For instance, you look through one of 
those early modernist histories of art, like [H.W.] Janson's 
[History of Art: R Survey of the Major Visual Arts from the 
Dawn of History to the Present Day]. It's a two- inch- thick 
book of predominantly Christian art. 

LEHMER: They were the patrons for well over a thousand 
years. So my question is, who is the patron now? Who is 
the consumer of modern art if it doesn't have religious — ? 
I'm thinking of that cave painting as having a spiritual or 
religious purpose. 

HEINECKEN: Which we no longer understand. We're guessing 
at a lot of it. We don't know that. But this is easily 
read as a part of the understanding of an existence of what 
we call "primitive" peoples. We know that. They weren't 
going to sit down and intellectually decide they're going to 
make a picture. This obviously represents some spiritual 
connection or some understanding. 
LEHMER: Some manifestation. 

HEINECKEN: Something, yeah. But I think we've lost 
whatever-- Or like the American Indians or the aborigines in 
Australia. They're the last people, really, who have any 
connection like that. They'll lose it eventually, unless 


they continue to be isolated, like out in New Guinea or 
something. I don't know how I got onto this. 

I like all the interjectives. It's like something I 
wrote about once ["A Choronology of Perception: How 
Photography Changed Seeing," June 1989], actually, in that 
magazine that you just gave back to me, that big one. 
LEHMER: L.A. Style? 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. It was about the stencil idea of the 
handprint on the cave wall, which is the first photograph. 
I like my idea about this, because it's not something drawn. 
It's actually using a matrix which is your hand, which is an 
important part of your body. Then it ends up with the 
Hiroshima bombing, lifting a body and disintegrating it 
against a wall and leaving that pattern. That's the last 
photograph. The hand is the first one. Everything in 
between is simply a mechanization of the stencil. Film 
negatives are a kind of stencil. There's the contrast of 
the absolute spirituality of that hand on the cave wall and 
the tragedy of a body being disintegrated and leaving its 
mark on the wall in the shape of a body. I'm glad I got to 
say that, because I like it. 

I think Joy [Joyce Neimanas] is the one who explained 
this to me sometime, and it's not something she's always 
happy with that I do, but she'll say, "You just can't leave 
anything alone, can you?" That's her thing with me. And I 


say, "That's right, I can't." So no matter what it is — 
This is serious. I don't screw around with this. But 
usually I would be screwing around with it somehow, leaving 
you thinking you got told something, but you didn't get told 
anything. Or you got the wrong information but you're happy 
with it. I do that all the time. These lectures are good 
that way, because I can-- Some people hate this-- [Allan] 
Sekula or Szarkowski would hate it--that you would take 
something serious like their ideas and actually misdirect 
them somehow. So my sense of what I'm interested in is to 
screw around with things . 
LEHMER: The ultimate deconstructionist . 

HEINECKEN: Well, I don't know if it's even that. I can be 
serious when I need to get something done. Like packing 
these boxes up, I'll do it. But to make a presentation that 
somehow screws things around and makes people think more 
about what's being said than you would ever do by listening 
to something straightforward-- Like the thing I recently did 
with Darryl that didn't really work out. It still gives 
people a good idea of what I'm about. I could do a straight 
introduction of him. He's got all the right credentials. 
But it's not interesting to do. They'll remember Darryl 
Curran and me more for what he showed and what I did than 
they would ever if I didn't do something that at least 
changes their view of what's going on. 


I don't know whether I could make the jump from that to 
all of my artwork. A lot of it has something screwy in there 
that's not quite right. People recognize that. It's a trait 
of mine that's very honest. It's not something I sit down 
and do for the artwork; it's just something I just do. 

It's the same thing with teaching. You know, you can 
give a person misinformation in such a way that it becomes 
good information. If you just say, "Look, do this" or 
"You're not doing this right," they don't listen to you. 
But if you can screw it around somehow, they remember it. 

So anyway, through the last period of time I've done 
maybe five or six different talks like this based on this 
premise. Another one is very interesting. Actually its 
title is "Satiric Lecture" or something like that, and 
it's about how to make a slide lecture. I have a tape of 
that you should look at sometime. I can't explain it 
except that it takes the premise that this is a slide 
lecture of works all of the people in the SPE community 
have made. It simply disrupts the whole situation of what 
those pictures are about, mine included. It's just very 
funny. And then I dressed up like-- 
LEHMER: A samurai. 

HEINECKEN: Yeah, I dressed up like a Japanese teacher. I 
haven't really done anything new with that idea much 
except these introductions and things. 


LEHMER: I saw when you did that in Phoenix, Arizona, at 
that resort hotel . 
HEINECKEN: Oh, right. Yeah. 

LEHMER: Joy introduced you as a pretty straight person. 
HEINECKEN: Actually, I don't know whether you knew it, 
but Ellen [Birrel] and David [Bunn] were there the first 
time I did it. I didn't know this at the time, but David 
was in theater, particularly in staging, so he knew how to 
put on makeup and how a samurai would look and what paint 
to use. He did the whole job on me. It was very strange. 

One of these things-- I'll always remember this, 
because sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't. 
There ' s a picture by Robert Frank of the black woman 
holding a white, blond, smooth baby. I forget exactly how 
I introduced it. But the point is, I had this tape 
recording set up so that when that slide came on and I'm 
saying something about it, the baby would cry in the 
audience, but it was this tape. [laughs] It had to be 
cued in at that moment. When that happens, nobody thinks 
that there's a tape recorder back there, because why would 
it be there? There's a baby in the audience crying. When 
this slide of the baby with the black woman comes on, it's 
just a knockout thing. 

LEHMER: Do you interrupt the lecture and say, "Shut that 
kid up"? 


HEINECKEN: [laughs] No. All you've got to do is just wait 

until it sinks in that not only did the slide make this baby 

cry but there actually is a baby there. Then you realize it 

can't be, it's too silly. 

LEHMER: You're in the midst of packing up, dismantling your 

thirty years of existence in Los Angeles and in Beverly 

Glen. Why are you doing this? What are you anticipating in 


HEINECKEN: That's a tough one. Well, as you know, I hate 

to leave this house in the Glen. It's just ideal. But it's 

time to do something different, I think. 

LEHMER: You mentioned once before about academic artists 

making bits and pieces, cutting off chunks that were 



LEHMER: I sensed that your mouth was watering with the 

possibility of working on an uninterrupted level, maybe a 

bigger scale. 

HEINECKEN: Well, actually I've already been doing that by 

taking all those leaves of absence. That's getting around 

that problem of piecemeal ing things together and having only 

a couple of days to try to figure something out. The move 

to Chicago really isn't going to change how it's been here 

for the last period of time. But the key is to not teach, 

obviously. I feel very fortunate, too, that I was able to 


get out of that at a time when it was still interesting for 
me to do it, because teaching can be very time-consuming. 
LEHMER: I know that you've spent a whole year not making 
art while dismantling your life in Los Angeles. You've been 
organizing things, sorting, sending things off to Tucson, 
and packing things for Chicago. That's got to be 

HEINECKEN: Well, it is, but it also has to be done. 
There's just no way of avoiding it. I think if we didn't 
decide to go back permanently that this would have been 
another free year. But this is a very time-consuming thing, 
because I haven't really paid attention to where things are 
or anything for over thirty years. I don't mind losing the 
year. Actually, when I get to Chicago it will be another 
three months of setting up again. But once that's done, it 
will be done. 

LEHMER: What do you look forward to in Chicago? Besides 
Polish bars. 

HEINECKEN: Well, I don't know. I guess it ' s a city that 
has all the characteristics of a city like New York except 
it's not hectic like New York. I mean, there are crazy 
people on the streets, but they're not quite as crazy as New 
York. The pace of life in New York is very hectic. I like 
the city very much, but Chicago has some of those 
characteristics of the bustle-- You know, it's a real, 


functioning city. All the culture that you need is there, 
and you don't have to drive to it. In L.A. you're always in 
the car. For me, I don't even go anywhere because it's so 
nice here on Viretta Lane. Why would I go to another 
opening? It's a waste of time. And you do get--like Joy, 
when you grow up there- -used to the weather. The weather is 
no problem for her. You just live with it. You grow up 
with it. You have the right coats and everything. But if I 
had to go to a job every day in Chicago, I wouldn't move 
there. That's not the place where you want to be out in the 
wind every morning. But if I don't have to go to a job — 
which I don't--it's just like living here, except when your 
dog needs to go out or something. 

Also, I think there's a sense- -maybe it's just getting 
older or whatever- -that the productive life that I've had is 
sort of leveling off. It's not just the move that's causing 
a certain definite leveling off or stopping everything. 
Maybe it's a time to stop going back and forth like that, 
because it's extremely disruptive. It's worked because it's 
allowed me and Joy to not teach all the time. It also takes 
time just to figure out a lot of things to move. So I want 
to be at one place, I want everything there. I'd rather it 
was here, but that's not in the cards because of Joy's job 
and stuff. I think it will be good. 
LEHMER: Do you have anything to add? Any last thoughts? 


HEINECKEN: I'll miss some very good friends here, but I 
also have very good friends everywhere. I'll miss the 
community of people that are here. But again, I think it's 
time, like maybe I'm beyond the point where I need to go to 
everything and be seen and all of that, which was important 
to me at one point. It just doesn't seem to be important 
anymore . 

And I think that--I've probably touched on this, but I 
think it's something that is important somehow-- I forgot 
what I was going to say. I guess you kind of grow up 
finally. You realize that something like SPE was an 
interesting thing when it was growing and expanding and 
arguing about things. It's not interesting to me now. I 
don't think that I've changed. I mean, I'm older, and I've 
seen more and all that. It's just not interesting to me 
anymore, whereas it really was, and doing these lectures and 
stuff was fun and good to do. But it's not important like 
that anymore to me. Does that make sense? I don't need the 
spotlight now for some reason. It's just I don't need it. 

Moving to Chicago-- Well, I'm known there, but it's not 
like here. It's not like having to do all of this stuff. 
Seeing David and Ellen was great last night, and I'd love to 
see all those people like that, but you can't do it. All 
you do is eat dinners. Whereas in Chicago the social life 
is much different than here somehow for me. It's Joy's 


town, Joy's friends, Joy's students, everything. It's good, 
because I like that. I can just be in the background of 
that and not have to be "on." So I think it will be good. 
When I go downtown to the Biltmore [Hotel], I love it 
down there. I think it's just great. I couldn't live down 
there, it's just too nuts. But Chicago is easy that way. 
It's not hectic. I don't have a sense of danger or anything 
in any part of the-- Well, unless you go where you're not 
supposed to go. But it's a good city that way. 
LEHMER: Two things. You're also known as a poker player. 
HEINECKEN: Well, I enjoy it. 
LEHMER: What interests you about that? 

HEINECKEN: I've always played. It's certainly not about 
the money. It's never big money. I don't like poker any 
more than I like cribbage or bridge, for instance. I used 
to play bridge. I was just addicted to playing bridge--it 
was a wonderful thing--in the service for big money. I 
don't know. I just like that you have to understand certain 
mechanical things about numbers and odds and possibilities 
and all of that. Poker is probably the best game there is 
for that. Bridge you can sort of figure out, or cribbage. 
I mean, there are certain things you don't do in cribbage or 
else you'll lose. But in poker there's a lot of bluffing 
and ploys that are not part of the game exactly. It's a 
very interesting game. 


LEHMER: You've had these marathon poker games at SPE. I 
remember once in Philadelphia in '82 being asked to go get a 
slide projector for someone and to help out. "Sure, let me 
go get it. I'm free. You're busy." I went into this media 
room where all the equipment was stored--it must have been 
nine or ten o'clock in the morning — and there were these 
people who had obviously been up all night long drinking and 
carousing, but they were still winding down a poker game. 
HEINECKEN: Well, that's the other part of it is that that 
kind of a game--which obviously one wouldn't be involved in 
now--is like going to sleep. You know, you can only do that 
so long. It gets really interesting when you're drinking 
and you ' ve been up for fourteen hours or something doing 
this and you can't stop it. It's really interesting. You 
have to stay on your feet when it gets to be that late. 
LEHMER: And you're playing with the same people. It's not 
like you're playing with strangers. 

HEINECKEN: Yeah, that's right. You begin to understand how 
people play and you can sort of read them. It's fun. You 
never lose or win that much money. 

LEHMER: Last week I met an old poker buddy of yours that 
picked up the bar counter- - 
HEINECKEN: Oh, Louie [Lunetta]. 

LEHMER: Louie. He talked about a group of you, mostly 
artists, who had been playing for forty years here in Los 



HEINECKEN; Yeah. Amazing. 

LEHMER: You get to know each other pretty well. You just 

know when they're pulling something, and you know exactly 

what they ' re doing . 

HEINECKEN: It's a nice group of people because they aren't 

all artists, but they were all trained as artists, so they 

understand it, kind of. You don't go to that expecting 

anything different to happen than what's happened for the 

forty years. I mean, it never changes. It's just like a 

nice thing to do. You have a meal-- Nobody gets drunk at 

those things; it's serious stuff. I guess you could call it 

a hobby or something like that. It's good to stop 

everything else and do that with friends. 

LEHMER: There's a social thing. 

HEINECKEN: What I really like to do--which is another whole 

thing--is I love to play blackjack for money, because I can 

make money doing that. I mean, I know how to manage it. I 

can't make a lot of money, but I can sense when it's time to 

start gambling with big money as opposed to not. I like 

that very much. 

LEHMER: It's intuition. 

HEINECKEN: Well, you learn it. But there you're playing a 

mechanical sort of game against a casino rather than a group 

of people. 


LEHMER: That's right. On your wall in your office you had 
a certificate for participating in a blackjack tournament or 
something . 

HEINECKEN: Yeah. That was very interesting. That's the 
real-- I think up until you get involved in that you're an 
amateur. You maybe make $500 or you lose some or whatever. 
But in this tournament you're finally with professional 
gamblers as opposed to tourists and drunks. I got to the 
third round of this thing. I think there were five rounds. 
Before I got eliminated, I was feeling pretty good. So I 
got this certificate instead of the money. 
LEHMER: There was one last thing that I just learned 
recently. I've known you now--I don't know how long--and 
we've worked together personally-- 
HEINECKEN: Long enough. 

LEHMER: Yeah, I think at least ten years. Your name, 
Heinecken, is spelled with a "C, " so I never considered that 
it would be part of the beer history. 

HEINECKEN: Well, I'm not sure that it is. But the story in 
my family is-- First of all, in looking at my grandfather's 
books and all--which I haven't actually read completely but 
would maybe explain this for sure--at some point when he's 
signing his pictures the "C" just shows up in there. It 
stays in there for the rest of that time period. But prior 
to that, when he was a younger person, it's spelled the 


other way. It's pronounced the same. The point of the 
story is that he put the "C" in it prior to going to America 
because he thought--this is what I heard--that it looked 
less Germanic. Heinecken is not a Dutch name, it's a German 
name. It has a meaning in German. So the story is, one of 
his brothers went from northern Germany, where they lived 
and were raised, to Rotterdam to start this beer thing. 
They thought it was crazy. They were all becoming Lutheran 
ministers. Apparently there was this other relative who 
went and started that business and did not change the 
spelling of the name. It could also be one of those family 
myths. I have no idea whether it's true, but I like to tell 
it because it's interesting. And there's only one family in 
the United States with that name, it's my family. You never 
see it in the phone book, and if you see it, it's one of my 
relatives . 

LEHMER: Well, I think we're done. Now that we've cleared 
that up, I think we can conclude this series of interviews. 



Adams, Ansel, 200, 288-89, 

338, 373, 402, 499 
Amato, Samuel, 109, 187, 

196, 204, 509 
Andreson, Laura F., 208 
Andrews, Oliver W. , 206 
Angel Eye Gallery (Los 

Angeles), 346-49, 380 
Art Center College of 

Design, 285 
Art Institute of Chicago, 

312, 336-38; Schools of, 

Avedon, Richard, 427 

Baldessari, John, 356-60, 

365, 367, 370-71 
Barrow, Thomas F. 453-54, 

Earth, Uta, 453-54 
Bell, Larry, 376-77 
Bellocq, E.J., 440-42, 450- 

Bengston, Billy Al, 376 
Berger, Paul, 334 
Birrel, Ellen, 98, 267-69, 

522, 526 
Bishop, Michael, 223, 227 
Bloch, E. Maurice, 341-42 
Blumberg, Donald, 306 
Boime, Albert, 226 
Borger, Irene, 166 
Bowman, William, 253-54 
Brice, William J., 187, 

193, 196, 205, 509 
Brooke, Kaucyila, 228 
Brooks, Ellen, 397, 399 
Brown, Dorothy W., 110, 188 
Brown, Raymond B., 188, 

196, 228, 508-9 
Brown, Robert, 398-99 
Bruce, Lenny, 297, 361 
Brumfield, John, 355, 357 
Bullock, Marty, 114 
Bunn, David, 98, 268-69, 

522, 526 
Bunnell, Peter, 306-8, 

394, 396-99, 513 
Burden, Chris, 266 

California Institute of 

the Arts, 354-58 
California State 

University, Fullerton, 

220, 354 
Camerawork Gallery (Costa 

Mesa, Corona del Mar, 

San Francisco, 

California), 349-50, 

Caponigro, Paul, 391-92 
Castelli, Leo. See Leo 

Castelli Gallery 
Chappell, Walter, 391 
Cheng, Carl, 195, 203 
Chiarenza, Carl, 96, 185, 

227, 324, 391-93, 502 
Chipperf ield, Donald W. , 

125, 127-32, 134-35, 

188, 190-91 
Christenberry, William, 

Clark, Jeff, 66-67, 114-15 
Cohen, Susan, 502, 504 
Coke, F. Van Deren, 312 
College Art Association, 

328, 331 
Collier, John, 369, 428-29 
Conner, Bruce, 295-98 
Connor, Linda, 164, 513 
Cornell, Joseph, 404 
Cowin, Eileen, 169-70, 174 
Cross, James A., 126, 128, 

Gumming, Robert, 227, 366- 

67, 386, 441-42 
Cunningham, Imogen, 338 
Curran, Darryl J., 167-69, 

345-46, 350-52, 354, 

397, 501, 520 


Curran, Doris, 167-68, 174 

Danto, Arthur, 361 
Dater, Judith, 157 
Davis, Jack, 14, 33 
Delano, Annita, 110 
Diebenkorn, Richard, 187, 

192, 204-5, 255, 510-11 
Divola, John, 216, 227 
Doherty, William, 205-6, 

290-91, 348 
Duchamp, Marcel, 262, 315- 

16, 417-19, 422-23 
Durant, Mark Alice, 99, 

221, 225, 228 

Elgart, Elliot J., 187, 
195, 483-84, 508-9 

Enos, Chris, 228 

Enyeart, James, 497 

Erhard Seminar Training 
(est), 147-48 

Fahey, David, 353 
Fahey/Klein Gallery (Los 

Angeles ) , 384 
Fichter, Robert, 99, 222, 

227, 228, 496-97 
Finley, Karen, 320 
Fiskin, Judith Anne, 228 
Flick, Robert, 229 
Frank, Robert, 35, 340, 

369, 390, 424, 501-7, 

515, 522 
Friedlander, Lee, 99, 222, 

227, 373, 424, 440 

Gagosian Gallery (Beverly 

Hills), 380-81 
Gatewood, Charles, 426 
Gauss, Kathleen, 340, 353 
Gedeon, Lucinda H., 239 
George Eastman House 

International Museum of 
Photography and Film, 
306, 324, 392, 500, 502; 
Persistence of Vision, 
305-6, 392-93; Toward a 
Social Landscape, 305, 

392; Vision and 

Expression, 395 
Gill, Charles, 306 
Golden, Judith, 227 
Goldin, Nan, 426-27 
G. Ray Hawkins Gallery 

(Los Angeles), 353, 385 
Group F/64, 338, 371, 373 
Grunwald, Fred, 341 
Guillfoyle, Patrick, 41- 

43, 45-48, 52 

Hawkins, G. Ray. See G. 

Ray Hawkins Galleiry 
Heath, David, 502-4, 506 
Heinecken, Friedli 

(grandfather), 5-9, 12, 

14, 21, 168 
Heinecken, Friedli Wilhelm 

(father), 1-3, 5-6, 8- 

16, 19, 22-25, 33, 35, 
65, 90, 92-93, 109 

Heinecken, Geoffrey R. 
(son), 104-5, 119-20, 
122, 138-40, 143-45, 
146-47, 149-50, 151-54, 

Heinecken, Martin (uncle), 
8-10, 92 

Heinecken, Mathilda Moehl 
(mother), 2-5, 11, 13- 
14, 16, 19-22, 25, 33, 
35, 65, 93-94, 103-4, 

Heinecken, Robert --group 
exhibitions: 390, 439- 
42. See also entries 
under George Eastman 
House and Museum of 
Modern Art 

Heinecken, Robert--works 
by: Are You Rea, 403- 

17, 422-23, 457-58; 
Cliche Vary, 170, 448; 
Different Strokes, 299; 
Documentary Photogram, 
429; He:/She:, 445-46; 
Iconographic Art 
Lunches, 433; Just Good 


East for U Diner, 409-10; 

Lessons in Posing 

Sul)jects, 514-15; 

Recto/Verso, 410, 416-17, 

430; Satiric Lecture 

(slide lecture), 521-23; 

TV Dinner, 421; Venice 

Alley, 401-2 
Heinecken, Theodore 

(cousin), 16 
Helms, Jesse, 318 
Hornbeak, Susan, 264-65 
Howe, Graham, 371 
Hugunin, James, 98, 239- 

41, 259, 269-70, 445-57 
Hull, Kathe Heinecken 

(daughter), 104-5, 119- 

20, 122-23, 138-40, 143- 

47, 149-53, 177-80 
Hulten, K.G. Pontus, 492-94 
Humphrey, John, 312 

Irwin, Robert, 376, 487, 

Jan Kesner Gallery ( Los 

Angeles), 384-85 
Jennings, Thomas, 127, 136 
Johnson, William, 502, 504 
Jones, Harold, 496-97 
Jones, John Paul, 110, 

125, 127-30, 135, 188, 

197, 507-10 
Josephson, Kenneth, 227 

Kane, Art, 285 
Katz, Heidi, 290 
Kelley, Ron, 275-76 
Kesner, Jan. See Jan 

Kesner Gallery 
Knight, Kenneth, 111-13 
Krims, Les, 440-42 
Kruger, Barbara, 272 

Lamkin, John P., 349-50 
Land, Edwin H., 437-38 
Landweber, Victor, 247-48, 

250, 259 
Larson, William, 227 

Lartigue, Jacques-Henri, 

L.R. Style (magazine), 519 
Laub, Claudia, 347-49 
Laub, Randolph, 347-49 
Leary, Timothy, 471 
Legrady, George, 228 
Leo Castelli Gallery (New 

York City), 382 
Lifson, Ben, 354-55, 357 
Light Gallery (New York 

City), 496 
Loescher, Robert, 166-67 
Longman, Lester D., 129-31 
Lord, Catherine, 99, 355- 

Los Angeles Center for 
Photographic Studies, 
322, 345-47, 353, 380 
Los Angeles County Museum 
of Art, 338-40, 344, 
352-53, 372, 381, 487, 
Los Angeles County Museum 
of History, Science, and 
Art. See Los Angeles 
County Museum of Art 
Lunetta, Louie, 528-29 
Lyon, Danny, 373 
Lyons, Nathan, 228, 304-6, 
308, 316, 323-24, 326- 
27, 391-92, 395, 496-97 

Mabrey, Dick, 78-83, 86-88 
Mann, Sally, 318-19 
Mapplethorpe, Robert, 318, 

Massachusetts Institute of 

Technology, 390-91 
Master Plan for Higher 

Education in the State 

of California, 1960-75, 

210-13, 220 
McCarthy, Paul, 215, 221 
McFadden, Mark, 221-22, 

225, 227-28 
McGowan, Kenneth, 191-92, 

195, 203-4 
McMillan, Jerry, 227, 


351, 397-98 
Mekas, Jonas, 298 
Metzger, Ray, 306 
Miller, Henry, 156-58, 164- 

65, 471 
Mock, Stan, 173-74 
Moehl, Else (aunt), 4, 17, 

Moehl , Emma ( grandmother ) , 

Moehl , Henry 

(grandfather), 4 
Moehl, Robert (uncle), 4 
Mora, John (son-in-law), 

Mora, Karol Heinecken 

(daughter), 105, 141-42, 

146-51, 153, 177-80 
Morgan, Barbara, 340 
Morrison, Deke, 185 
Mortensen, William, 371, 

Mullican, Lee, 509 
Museum Folkwang (Essen, 

Germany), 396 
Museum of Contemporary Art 

(Los Angeles), 364-55, 

372, 381, 484-92 
Museum of Fine Arts, 

Boston- -School of, 431-33 
Museum of Modern Art ( New 

York City), 306-7, 312, 

336-38, 340, 359, 386-88, 

393-94, 487 
Museum of Modern Art-- 

exhibitions at: Family 

of Man, 336-37, 388; 

Mirrors and Windows, 386, 

388-89; Photography as 

Printmaking, 307, 394; 

Photography for 

Collectors, 307, 393-94; 

Photography Into 

Sculpture, 307, 396-99 

Neimanas, John, 183 
Neimanas, Joyce (second 
wife), 34, 100, 159-62, 
166-76, 180-85, 228, 409, 

446, 483, 519, 525-27 
Nettles, Bea, 227 
Newhall, Beaumont, 515-16 
Nordland, Gerald, 344 
Nunes, Gordon M. , 109, 

187, 194-96, 204 

Ohio Silver Gallery (Los 

Angeles), 347-49, 380 
O'Neil, Patrick, 195, 203 
Opie, Catherine, 426, 429 
Oracle (professional 
organization), 334 
Orange Coast College, 349 
Ortiz, Susan H. See 

Hornbeak, Susan 
Outerbridge, Paul, 371 

PaceWildenstein (gallery. 

New York City, Los 

Angeles), 321-22, 380- 

81, 498 
Parker, Bart, 170, 174, 

Pasadena Art Museum, 399- 

Pearlman, Barbara, 346 
Penn, Irving, 427 

Administrators, 334 
Polaroid Corporation, 422, 

429-38, 502-5, 507 
Pratt Institute School of 

Art and Design, 285 
Price, Richard, 272 

Rauschenberg, Robert, 401 
Reck, David (cousin), 16 
Reck, Marie Heinecken 

( aunt ) , 9 
Reck, Tom (cousin), 16 
Reuter, John, 432 
Revelle, Barbara Jo, 227 
Rice, Leland, 227, 487 
Richards, I. A., 482 
Riverside City College, 

29-31, 60-62, 94-95 
Rochester Institute of 

Technology, 285, 332 


Roland, D.R., 40, 49-50, 

53, 55-56 
Rosenfield, John, 125, 

127-29, 135 
Ruscha, Edward, 377 

Sahl, Mort, 297 

Samaras, Constance J., 228 

San Francisco Art 

Institute, 200, 338, 513 
San Francisco Museum of 

Art. See San Francisco 

Museum of Modern Art 
San Francisco Museum of 

Modern Art, 311-12, 336- 

San Francisco State 

University, 200, 218, 352 
Schwitters, Kurt, 404-5 
Sekula, Allan, 99, 272-73, 

456-57, 520 
Sherman, Cindy, 424 
Siegel, Arthur, 407-8 
Siskind, Aaron, 340, 515-16 
Smith, Eugene, 499 
Smith, Henry Holmes, 227, 

323-24, 326 
Sobieszek, Robert, 353, 

Society for Photographic 

Education ( SPE ) , 132-33, 

155-56, 160, 282-86, 322- 

35, 380, 395, 409, 440, 

476, 512, 526 
Sommers, Frederick, 499 
Spaulding, Jonathan, 288- 

Standard Oil Company of 

California, 171 
Steichen, Edward, 337 
Steinert, Otto, 396 
Stephen White Gallery ( Los 

Angeles), 353 
Stieglitz, Alfred, 262 
Storey, Doris, 182 
Storey, Janet (first wife), 

31-32, 102-7, 119-23, 

138-42, 144, 146-56, 158, 

160-64, 177-82, 184, 421, 

Sturges, Jock, 318-19 
Stussy, Jan, 109-10, 187, 

196, 198-99 
Sweetman, Alex, 410 
Szarkowski, John, 306-8, 

316, 337, 386-89, 391- 

92, 513-14, 516, 520 

Teske, Edmund, 223, 372, 

Thiebaud, Twinka, 156-59, 

164, 178 
Thiebaud, Wayne, 157 
Todd, Mike, 171 
Truax, Karen, 227 
Tucker, Anne, 227 

Uelsmann, Jerry, 306, 501, 

University High School 
(Los Angeles), 147-48 

University of Arizona-- 
Center for Creative 
Photography, 497-500 

University of California, 
Berkeley, 134, 210, 212, 
217-20, 241 

University of California, 
Davis, 157, 218 

University of California, 
Irvine, 212, 216, 354 

University of California, 
Los Angeles: College of 
Applied Arts, 129, 207- 
8; College of Fine Arts, 
127, 129, 131, 134-35, 
207-8, 209-10, 246, 496 
(See also Department of 
Art); Department of Art, 
107-10, 125-26, 128, 
131, 134, 186-90, 193- 
97, 199-204, 206-10, 
214-15, 246, 253-54, 
275-80, 287-88, 356; 
Department of Design, 
209; Department of Film 
and Television, 203-4, 
210, 290-92, 294; 


Department of Theater, 
210; Grunwald Center for 
the Graphic Arts, 239, 
340-44, 375; UCLA at the 
Armand Hammer Museum of 
Art and Cultural Center, 
342; University 
Extension, 123-24, 128, 
132, 189-90, 201, 341, 
344-45, 348, 351-54; 
Wight Art Gallery, 126- 
28, 190, 197, 340-41, 
344, 394, 399 

University of California, 
Riverside, 210, 212, 216; 
California Museum of 
Photography, 216, 354 

University of California, 
Santa Cruz, 210, 212, 220 

University of Southern 
California, 292-93, 338 

Upton, John, 349-50, 352, 
386, 441, 501 

Wood, John, 306, 502-7 

Yavno, Max, 371 

Young, Colin, 291-92, 294 

Valentine, Duane, 487, 489 
Visual Studies Workshop 

(Rochester, New York), 

Voulkos, Peter, 197, 208 

Walker, Todd, 227, 351 
Warhol, Andy, 401, 434 
Wegman, William, 364-65, 

Weitzel, Lee, 66-67, 114-15 
Welpott, Jack W., 157, 200, 

Weston, Edward, 198, 246, 

261-62, 340-41, 425, 499 
White, Minor, 200, 338, 

386, 389-92, 441-42 
White, Stephen. See 

Stephen White Gallery 
Wight, Frederick S., 126, 

Winogrand, Garry, 99, 206, 

222, 227, 229, 332, 373, 

Wolf, Eelco, 505